The key difference between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal conflict is that interpersonal conflict is a disagreement between two people, whereas intrapersonal conflict is a disagreement within an individual.
Conflict is a part of human behaviour, and it is common in our day to day lives. Emotions such as anxiety, aggression, depression and resistance as well as antagonistic reactions like competition lead to conflicts. There are four types of conflicts. They are intrapersonal, interpersonal, intragroup and intergroup conflict. However, if conflicts are properly managed, there is always an opportunity for growth and development.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Interpersonal Conflict
3. What is Intrapersonal Conflict
4. Relationship Between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Conflict
5. Side by Side Comparison – Interpersonal vs Intrapersonal Conflict in Tabular Form
What is Interpersonal Conflict?
Interpersonal conflict refers to a disagreement between two people. The main cause of the interpersonal conflict is the difference between individuals. People always have differences, based on their attitudes, beliefs, culture and values. Furthermore, they have their own set of goals, expectations, personalities and perceptions, which lead to conflicts.
We can consider interpersonal conflicts as major level conflicts. They may occur between co-workers, siblings, neighbours etc. Moreover, interpersonal conflict is known as social conflict. Naturally, these occur when two people have opposite ideas about the same thing.
The first step of resolving an interpersonal conflict is to find out the causes of the conflict. Management of conflict involves changes of attitudes, behaviour and organizational structures. As a result, members of an organization can attain their targets and expectations.
Interpersonal conflicts may occur due to greediness for power, punishments and competitions at workplaces. Also, it may include a rude behaviour or may include respectful antagonistic disagreements.
What is Intrapersonal Conflict?
Intrapersonal conflict refers to a disagreement within an individual, which is caused by one’s own actions, emotions, beliefs and values. In other words, it is a psychological involvement that occurs within you. Sometimes, it is a conflict between should and wants. Here, should is always driven by values and believes while a want is driven by the environment.
Intrapersonal conflicts are common occurrences, and it is part of human life. Conflicts mainly happen at the decision-making stage of individuals. For instance, one can get into intrapersonal conflicts about a simple decision like buying a book to a complex decision like marriage. In brief, intrapersonal conflict occurs when an individual argues internally within himself, and no other party get involved in.
What is the Relationship Between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Conflict?
Both types of conflicts are important as they give an opportunity for improvement. Healthy conflicts will always provide a better understanding of yourself and trustworthy relationships, better resolution skills and avoid damages or destructions.
Intrapersonal conflicts may bring depression, aggressive behaviours if the individual does not understand his or her needs and expectations. Therefore, it is very important to understand their own feelings. Further, understanding their own feelings may avoid interpersonal conflicts as well because they can make negotiations with other people. Managing stress is another important factor to avoid both interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts.
What is the Difference Between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Conflict?
The key difference between interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict is that interpersonal conflict occurs between two people, whereas intrapersonal conflict occurs with oneself. Self-awareness, perception and expectation are the three main aspects of intrapersonal conflicts while written, verbal communication and internal negotiations are the main aspects of internal conflicts. Most of the time, intrapersonal conflicts, involve emotions, values and beliefs, whereas interpersonal conflicts involve strategic thinking, analysis, and speaking.
Furthermore, intrapersonal conflicts can lead to overthinking, confusion and even to depression. The best third party to resolve intrapersonal conflicts is one’s family, close friends or a counsellor. Interpersonal conflict, on the other hand, normally occurs between friends, family, colleagues and neighbours. Adjusting and compromising is the best way to manage interpersonal conflict. A third party intervention is crucial if the conflict is severe. SO, this is another significant difference between interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict.
Moreover, there are three types of intrapersonal conflicts. They are Approach-Approach, Approach-Avoidance, Avoidance-Avoidance. There are three types of interpersonal conflicts: Direct, Mediated and Mass.
Summary – Interpersonal vs Intrapersonal Conflict
Conflict is a part of human behaviour, and it is common in our day to day lives. Intrapersonal conflicts and interpersonal conflicts are two major types of conflicts. The key difference between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal conflict is that Interpersonal conflict occurs as a disagreement between two people, whereas Intrapersonal conflict occurs as a disagreement within an individual.
1. Butler, Alia. “Interpersonal & Intrapersonal Conflict.” Our Everyday Life, 2 July 2019, Available here.
2. Beheshtifar, Malikeh, and Elham Zare. “Interpersonal Conflict: A Substantial Factor to Organizational Failure.” International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 2013.
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