FLYNAS Airlines’ Conflict Styles

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Conflict in the workplace is a concept that has been extensively studied due to its implications on organizations. According to Upadhyay (2021, p. 5), the term ‘conflict’ can be defined as how individuals perceive their differences in interests. All corporate decisions have an element of conflict since multiple stakeholders are involved. As such, all organizational behavior and management practices should consider the element of conflict, especially at the interpersonal level (Gunkel, Schlaegel, and Taras, 2016, p. 569). Additionally, many firms today are built in a multicultural environment, which means that differences are inevitable. In this case, all group activities will face conflicts deeply rooted in cultural differences (Tabassi et al., 2017, p. 42). The focus of this paper will be to explore conflict styles and apply the tools to FLYNAS Airlines.

Literature Review

Conflict Styles and Theory

A wide pool of literature is available regarding the concept of conflict management. Some researchers explore the conflict styles, including compromising, avoiding, collaborating, accommodating, and cooperating (Lu & Wang, 2017, p. 1491). Others have explored theoretical frameworks behind conflict management, where LMX and negotiation theories have emerged (Hussein et al., 2017, p. 86; Caputo et al, 2019, p. 100). Additionally, it has been established that each of the styles of conflicts styles has different outcomes for the organization. For example, those who prefer to avoid it tend to make less risky decisions, which could prevent a company from pursuing opportunities. Other prefer to cooperate, which allows the creation of harmony and support the performance and progress of the company. The main focus here will be the conflict styles and their implications on businesses.

Collaboration & Compromising

Collaboration, or cooperation, is a conflict style where parties decide to jointly handle the conflict. In most cases, the problems causing the conflict are complex, which means that no one party can resolve them solely. Additionally, all those involved are obligated to commit to the resolution process since the outcome affects all. Global virtual teams present a cultural environment where collaboration is a necessity. This is because conflicts in this environment are complex and tend to consume time, and collaboration allows all members to participate in the resolution. Compromising involves setting mutually exclusive goals where each member agrees to make certain concessions to help resolve the conflict (Lu & Wang, 2017). Additionally, the parties are equally powerful, which means no one can make impositions on the other. Multicultural environments require that all people make concessions for other cultures to create harmony, which also works in the conflict management context.


Some individuals prefer to avoid conflicts and situations from which they may arise. However, the choice may be based on the nature of the problem and the cost and benefit analysis between making confrontations and avoiding the conflict. According to Hussein et al. (2017, p. 89), some confrontations may prove to be more costly than when the conflict is avoided. Therefore, the parties to a conflict may feel that a period for cooling off may be necessary where everyone can simply walk away from the problem to avoid escalations. The cultural environment where avoidance works best is highly political workplaces where office politics can be detrimental to organizations. Staff members may seek to exercise their power at the expense of the well-being of the company, which means avoiding conflicts can save the business.

Accommodation and Competition

Accommodation can be described as a conflict style where parties are more willing to concede for the sake of the others. In some cases, relationships formed between individuals are more important, which means that the parties are more concerned about preserving them. Eastern countries are renowned for their accommodating attitudes, which reflects in their corporations. Competition is different because the parties have less regard for each other and often pursue a win-lose scenario. Higher regard for oneself means that the impacts on the other party are not considered. Western cultures are considered highly competitive, which also reflects in their companies and workplaces. Accommodation and competition can be interpreted in terms of individualistic versus collectivistic cultural environments, respectively.

Cultural Environment in Conflict Management

From a theoretical perspective, different cultures have varied approaches to conflict management. For example, eastern cultures are more accommodating, while western ones are highly confrontational (Marugavel & Somaraju, 2016). Additionally, many companies have a multicultural workforce, which means a mix of attitudes and approaches toward conflict management can emerge. For instance, eastern cultures are more collectivist, which means that they prefer cooperation and collaboration (Marugavel & Somaraju, 2016). On the contrary, eastern cultures are highly competitive and prefer direct confrontation (Marugavel & Somaraju, 2016). In multicultural settings, the leadership and the organizational members have to choose the mechanisms that suit all parties. In this case, collaboration is preferred since all members can be engaged. Flynas operates in multiple countries, and additional destinations are being added (Tusing, 2021). This further raises the possibilities of cultural differences and the potential for conflict.

Background of Flynas

Flynas is a company that handles international destinations comprising people from different regions. Therefore, the cultural environment in which conflicts have to be addressed can be described as multiculturalism or a culturally diverse workplace. For example, Flynas is expanding into Africa and Europe, where it can face western cultures that are inherently different from eastern cultures. Even the local environment is significantly diversified since the KSA is a country that has embraced cultural diversity as characterized by the high number of expatriates. Additionally, operating globally means that project teams, some of which are virtual, have to interact to accomplish given tasks. Cross-border cooperation means dealing with people from multiple backgrounds, which should be a major cause of corporate conflicts. Most importantly, all these cultures have to be observed harmoniously to foster corporate success.

Accommodation and Collaboration at Flynas

Different departments can apply accommodation and collaboration conflict styles since the company is multicultural. Therefore, the company is interested in making all people work together in harmony to achieve corporate goals. The KSA is a multicultural country, which means that Flynas has to deal with workers from different ethnic and national backgrounds. Accommodation means that all workers can accept their cultural differences and work around them to resolve any conflicts. In terms of collaboration, it has been established that firms that use this style are more interested in maintaining relationships. Therefore, Flynas uses collaboration where it intends to foster interpersonal relationships across the entire workforce (Holland, 2021). Even those departments working outside the KSA will need to interact with the headquarters in some ways. Therefore, winning in a conflict situation becomes a secondary priority as the company can avoid deteriorating issues and, instead, make sure all workers commit to the resolutions developed jointly by all stakeholders.

Avoiding style at Flynas

Flynas faces many conflicts of varying degrees from critical to insignificant. As explained earlier, avoiding the style of conflict management works when the issues are trivial and when the negative effects of confrontations outweigh any benefit of winning in a conflict. As an airline company, several departments work together, and miscommunication may cause problems. For example, if the sales department books a plane with one less passenger a conflict may erupt between it and the operations department. In this case, escalating the conflict can halt an entire flight while avoiding it means that a quick fix can be found with the hope that the mistake made will not be repeated (Hussein et al., 2017). The argument is that delaying a flight can cause more damage than flying with one less passenger. Additionally, some conflicts require time and resources to resolve, which means that the scarcity of both time and resources can necessitate the company to avoid the conflict altogether.

Competition and Compromising at Flynas

The cultural diversity at Flynas means there is a mix of eastern and western cultures where each is inherently inclined to either competition or compromise. In this case, it can be argued that western cultures will be more competitive than eastern ones, which will often prefer to make the necessary concessions. Competition can be used when relationships are not a priority, for example, when dealing with external stakeholders. However, this approach is not recommended for Flynas, a company whose seamless operations depend on harmony. Compromising can help achieve a more win-win situation, which can be highly recommended for Flynas (Lu & Wang, 2017). Due to cultural diversity, all parties can be forced to make certain concessions that mutually benefit the interests of all people involved.

Validity of Thomas tool at FLYNAS

Many corporations have a culture that seeks to build togetherness and cooperation among all members. The same culture may apply to conflict resolution, which means that the Thomas tool may become the default approach to all conflicts. Additionally, the key characteristic of the Thomas tool is that it makes multiple considerations, including the need to maintain relationships. Flynas would be keen to sustain internal interrelationships, which means that all cases of conflict must pursue a win-win situation. Therefore, those styles that help achieve a win-win outcome are applicable to Flynas. Another aspect is that it is necessary to build trust, a vital practice across all organizations. Trust among employees helps improve corporate success, which is another reason for using this style. Lastly, all members will commit to a solution achieved collaboratively (Holland, 2021). This makes it the ultimate tool that should be adopted by companies seeking long-term resolutions.

Several challenges arise that can place doubts on the validity of some styles in the Thomas tool, including collaboration as a conflict style. The first one is the nature of conflict since not all issues can be resolved through collaboration. Problems arising from individual and interpersonal differences can be effectively addressed through collaboration where each party has to acknowledge their own differences and make joint efforts to work around them. However, conflicts arising from such aspects as oppression or discrimination may not be appropriately resolved through collaboration since only one party is at fault. Additionally, collaboration is time-consuming, which means that decisions that need to be made quickly cannot be subjected to this style (Holland, 2021). Lastly, there are several cases where the difference in opinion is such that collaboration cannot work. Therefore, Flynas can only apply collaboration conflict style selectively.

Other key issues that arise and may make the Thomas tool invalid include safety, too many parties, indecisive participants, and miscommunication. Flynas is an airline company, which means that safety is a critical component of its operations. Should conflict emanate from an issue that has direct implications on safety, collaboration cannot be used due to its time consumption and the fact that protocols and procedures would outweigh the interests of any party to the conflict. A second case is where there is a miscommunication between the parties, which means that progress is inhibited. In other situations, an organization can be facing indecisive individuals, which could be detrimental to commitment to resolutions. Lastly, too many parties to a conflict could make collaboration extremely expensive and slow (Holland, 2021). Even competition may not be recommendable since conflict will ultimately cause harm to the company. Avoidance can become preferable, which means that the Thomas tool can still be valid.

Many people are naturally competitive, even when working in teams across organizations. Therefore, the selection of the conflict style should consider the level of competition and how it should be addressed. The rationale is that collaboration works when parties have similar regard for the interests of others as opposed to a high regard for self and little regard for others. Therefore, Flynas may need to first deal with competitiveness before implementing collaboration. The issue of negativity among parties may also make it impossible to apply collaboration. This can be manifested through unwillingness to concede to pay attention to the interests of the other party. Most importantly, resources may be scarce such that collaboration becomes impossible (Agarici, Scarlat, and Iorga, 2020, p. 1030). It has been expressed that collaboration requires organizations to commit time and resources, the scarcity of which undermines the success of the collaboration.


Conflicts are a common occurrence in the organization, which often result from individual differences. Therefore, theorists and practitioners have developed several styles that can be deployed in conflicts. While the selection of the style may be at the discretion of individuals, certain aspects can dictate which styles apply and which do not. For example, avoiding conflict works best when the issues are trivial and when the costs of confrontation are higher. The style recommended for Flynas, a Saudi Arabian low-cost carrier, is collaboration. The basic presumption is that cultural differences will lead to conflicts that affect the entire company and that collaboration allows the development of long-term solutions. Despite these benefits, some issues arise that affect its validity. For instance, issues to do with safety, when there is not enough time, and when the resources are scarce, are all cases where collaboration will not work best.


Agarici, C., Scarlat, C. and Iorga, D. (2020). ‘Turning cross-cultural management conflict into collaboration: Indian and Romanian experiences in Global Project Teams,’ Proceedings of the International Conference on Business Excellence, 14(1), pp. 1024–1034.

Caputo, A. et al. (2019). ‘Ten years of conflict management research 2007–2017: an update on themes, concepts and relationships’, International Journal of Conflict Management, 30(1), pp. 87–110.

Gunkel, M., Schlaegel, C. and Taras, V. (2016). ‘Cultural values, emotional intelligence, and conflict handling styles: a global study,’ Journal of World Business, 51, pp. 568-585.

Holland, E. (2021). Resolving problems with collaborative conflict style.

Hussein, A., Al-Mamary, Y. & Hassan, Y. (2017). ‘Conflict management styles and organizational commitment: the conceptual framework development,’ International Journal of Research in Management, Science & Technology, 5(1), pp. 86–97.

Lu, W. and Wang, J. (2017). ‘The influence of conflict management styles on relationship quality: the moderating effect of the level of task conflict,’ International Journal of Project Management, 35, pp. 1483-1494.

Marugavel, V., and Somaraju, A. (2016). ‘Cultural differences on conflict strategies in the workplace,’ International Journal of Arts & Science, 9(2), 135-144

Tabassi, A. et al. (2017). ‘Conflict management style of team leaders in multicultural work environment in the construction industry,’ Procedia Computer Science, 121, pp. 41-46.

Tusing, D. (2021). Saudi Arabia’s flynas launches first direct international flights to AlUla, from Dubai. Web.

Upadhyay, D. (2021). ‘Consideration of future consequences and decision-making patterns as determinants of conflict management styles’, IIMB Management Review, 33, pp. 5–14.

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