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TOPIC: Compromise vs Smoothing

Compromise vs Smoothing 4 years 4 weeks ago #3032

  • Edward Wada
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Can you please clarify the difference between Compromise and Smoothing with examples. Also when would you use one vs the other? Or several examples of Smoothing instead of Compromise .


Compromise vs Smoothing 4 years 3 weeks ago #3033

  • Kevin Reilly
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Hi Edward –

Smoothing (also known as Accommodating) and Compromising are both conflict resolution techniques that can be used in different situations. Smoothing emphasizes the common interests of the conflicting parties and de-emphasizes their differences. The Smoothing technique also stresses the adoption of shared viewpoints on certain issues to help facilitate movement toward a consensus and temporary resolution of the conflict. In this case, the project manager “accommodates” the other party so that they can both move on and get back to work on the project. It is important to note that Smoothing is considered to be a short-term solution and may have to be revisited at a later time. Smoothing is often used by project managers when it is important to provide temporary relief from the conflict or buy time until you are in a better position to respond and/or push back against the conflicting party. It is also used when the conflicting party “stands their ground” and refuses to budge on their viewpoint. In these cases, it is simply better for the project manager to accommodate this person since continuing the conflicting conversation would cause more harm than good to the project or other project team members.

On the other hand, Compromising emphasizes finding areas of agreement that bring some degree of satisfaction to all parties. The Compromising technique involves situations where each party engages in a discussion of “give and take”, each relinquishing a bit more of what they are expecting until a mutual agreement is reached. It is important to note that when using the Compromising technique, there is no distinct winner or loser and the decision reached is probably not ideal for either party, but is acceptable to both parties so that they can move on. Compromising should be used when the two parties are looking for an expedient and mutually acceptable solution that partially satisfies both parties. IT can also be used when the ultimate resolution of the conflict are of only moderate importance and not worth the use of more assertive or more involved approaches, such as forcing or collaborating.

I hope that helps you make the distinction between the Smoothing and Compromising conflict resolution techniques and when they are appropriate.


The following user(s) said Thank You: Magroud Noreddine

Compromise vs Smoothing 10 months 1 week ago #7124

  • ziad
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thank you very much :)

Compromise vs Smoothing 3 months 1 week ago #8602

  • Jason
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Please kindly help me to choose whether this is Smoothing or Compromising and exmpla why

A major subcontractor for your project sconsistently provide deliverables late.
The subcontractor approroaches you and asks you to continue accepting late deliverable exchange for a decrease in project costs. This offer is an example of Smoothing or Compromising?

Compromise vs Smoothing 3 months 1 week ago #8603

  • Rahul Kakkar
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Hi Jason,

First let's revisit smoothing and compromising. Smoothing is what you’re doing when you try to play down the problem and make it seem like it’s not so bad. It’s a temporary solution, but sometimes you need to do it to keep tempers from flaring and give people some space to step back and really figure out what’s going on.

Compromise sounds good, doesn’t it? But hold on a second—when two people compromise, it means that each person gives up something. That’s why a lot of people call a compromise a “lose-lose” solution. Each of the parties involved will have to give up something if they are to get back on track. As Kevin explained - Compromising emphasizes finding areas of agreement that bring some degree of satisfaction to all parties.

Therefore in the example provided by you - it's compromising because of a couple Of reasons. One is that the sub contractor consistently delivers late (So not a temporary fix). Additionally the project manager is "losing" because of late deliverables which would have an impact on the timelines for the project and the sub contractor is "losing" because of reducing his price (assumption based on his implication of a reduction in project cost), even if that could result in a drop in total project cost (which is a gain for the PM).

Hope this helps.
Rahul Kakkar, PMP, MBA
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