Management of Differences Inventory

Kindler, H. S. (1981). Management of Differences Inventory. Pacific Palisades, CA: Center for Management Effectiveness.

Comments: The 36-item MODI measures the way employees handle differences. It provides the respondents with an analysis of their style for dealing with disagreement, managing differences, and conflict.

Sample: Over 200 managers were asked: “When your views on a work-related issue differ from the views of another person who also has a stake in the issue, how do you prepare to deal with the situation?” Based upon their responses, two dimensions emerged: viewpoint flexibility and interaction intensity.

Dimensions: Viewpoint flexibility reflects the importance and attainability of a person’s position and what could be learned by listening to other points of view. Interaction intensity reflects the amount of involvement by the person and the type of relationship desired. Using these two dimensions, nine approaches for managing differences are identified. The nine approaches are: maintain, smooth, dominate, decide by rule, coexist, bargain, yield, release, and collaborate. For each of these approaches, intents, processes, applications, and examples are presented.


Filley, A. C. (1978). Some normative issues in conflict management. California Management Review 63. Pondy, L. R. (1967).

Organizational conflict: Concepts and models. Administrative Science Quarterly 296–320. Schmidt, W. H., and Tannenbaum, R. (1960). Management of differences. Harvard Business Review 107.

Management of Differences Inventory

1. A. I let emotions and tensions cool before taking decisive action.
B. We find some formula or other criteria we both agree on.

2. A. I assert myself to gain what I’m after.
B. We jointly develop a mutually agreeable plan that merges both views.
3. A. I follow my view, and the other person follows his or her view.
B. I give in on some points to get my way on others.
4. A. I place more emphasis on similarities and less emphasis on differences.
B. We find logical rules we both agree on as the basis for our decision.
5. A. We take action that lets both parties retain their positions, at least on an interim basis.
B. Within agreed-upon limits, I give control to the other person.
6. A. I gain agreement for my position by avoiding detail on which we may disagree.
B. I try solutions proposed by the other person.
7. A. I push to have my approach or my ideas prevail.
B. I go along with the other person’s view.
8. A. We work out a fair combination of gains and losses for both of us.
B. I get both our concerns out in the open, and we problem solve together.
9. A. I wait until I feel better prepared to take action.
B. I let the other person come up with the plan.
10. A. I avoid unnecessary problems by delaying action.
B. We agree to disagree, at least for a while or on an experimental basis.
11. A. I sell the person who disagrees with me on accepting my view by emphasizing its positive features.
B. I fully express my ideas and feelings, and urge the other person to do the same.
12. A. We find some formula to resolve our differences.
B. We find solutions in which gains balance out losses for both parties.
13. A. I do what it takes to get my ideas accepted.
B. I allow the other person, within limits, to resolve our issue.
14. A. We mutually agree on rules or procedures to resolve our differences.
B. I accommodate myself to the other person’s view.
15. A. I gain compliance to my views.
B. We acknowledge and allow each other’s differences.
16. A. I go along with the views of the other person.
B. We work together to integrate ideas of both persons.
17. A. I minimize presenting information that makes my position less attractive.
B. Within a given framework, I let the other person handle the issue.
18. A. I wait until I have more information or emotions cool.
B. We find a mutually acceptable compromise by which to resolve our differences.
19. A. I delay suggesting changes until the timing feels right.
B. I don’t resist the views of the other person.
20. A. We find mutually agreeable procedures (such as taking a vote or an appropriate test).
B. We find ways to jointly reframe our differences to satisfy both our needs.
21. A. I give in on some points if I believe the other person will reciprocate.
B. I state my expectation and concerns and let the other person work out a solution.
22. A. I show the other person that in the final analysis our views aren’t very different.
B. I give the other person a turn or concession if I believe he or she will do the same for me.

23. A. We find ways that allow each of us to pursue our individual viewpoints.
B. We find solutions that take both our views into account.
24. A. I deal with differences only after waiting until I feel the time is right.
B. I act in ways that advance my position.
25. A. We mutually agree on a rule or procedure that will decide the issue.
B. We find ways in which we can both pursue our respective points of view.
26. A. I yield to the other person’s views.
B. Given acceptable boundaries, I am willing to have the other person handle the issue.
27. A. I prevail on the other person to change his or her mind.
B. I establish an objective basis with the other person for resolving our differences.
28. A. I put off dealing with our differences until I have enough information.
B. I resolve our differences by emphasizing where we are not so far apart in our thinking.
29. A. We settle our differences by working out a compromise solution.
B. I accommodate myself to the other person’s approach.
30. A. I point out that our differences aren’t substantial enough to argue over.
B. I oppose the other person’s view.
31. A. I defer making changes until I have adequate support.
B. We find new perspectives that satisfy both our needs.
32. A. I express some, but not all the negative aspects of my position.
B. I get agreement from the other person to live with our differences, at least for a period of time.
33. A. We jointly agree to accept a criterion or the decision of a third party as the basis for resolving our differences.
B. Within stated bounds, I encourage the other person to take the initiative.
34. A. I play to win.
B. I make adjustments when the other person is willing to do the same.
35. A. I urge the other person to take the initiative within defined limits.
B. We integrate the ideas expressed by both individuals.
36. A. We agree to follow our separate paths until joint action seems feasible.
B. I go along with the other person’s ideas.

Scoring: For every pair of items, three points are to be divided between the two alternatives to indicate frequency. Very often = 3; Moderately often = 2; Occasionally = 1; and Rarely or Never = 0. A profile that indicates management or differences/disagreement is included as part of the scoring. In addition, viewpoint flexibility/interaction intensity scoring is also provided. Finally, there is an explanation for each of the nine approaches.