Approach-Approach Conflict: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 What Is…
  • 0:48 Examples at Home
  • 3:11 Examples at Work
  • 4:34 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ashley Johns

Ashley has taught college business courses and has a master's degree in management.

In this lesson, we'll be looking at a business concept known as the approach-approach conflict, which is when you have to decide between two appealing goals. We'll also take the time to look at some examples and then you can test your knowledge with a quiz.

What is Approach-Approach Conflict?

You need to make a decision, but don't know what to do. You've got two options and they both sound good. It's your decision. So what are you going to do? You basically have a conflict on your hands that's not so easy to resolve.

No one ever said that the decision-making process was an easy one; there's usually going to be conflict involved. A group of psychologists determined that there are three types of conflict: approach-approach, approach-avoidance, and avoidance-avoidance. We're going to focus on the approach-approach conflict.

The approach-approach conflict is when there's conflict within a person where he or she needs to decide between two appealing goals. The conflict is typically resolved when there's movement towards one of the goals. This makes it easier to make the final decision.

Examples at Home

Let's look at some approach-approach conflict examples of personal decisions that you may need to make at home.

Example 1

  • Vacation - It's time to plan your family vacation for the year. Not shockingly, the kids are leaning towards the Disney World vacation. You and your spouse are leaning towards a tropical beach vacation in Hawaii. Each option has advantages and disadvantages. It's your job as a parent to make the decision. This falls under approach-approach conflict because you have to decide between two pretty appealing destinations.

You begin researching the Disney vacation and see all the fun things the whole family can experience. This leads you to set up a schedule for the entire week. By the time you're ready to move on to researching the beach vacation, you've already got your mind set on the Disney vacation. The decision is made.

Example 2

  • Car - Your car is about to give out and you're ready to buy a new one. You've been researching and have narrowed it down to two options. One has more trunk space. Another has a more appealing design. Again, you have approach-approach conflict. You need to make a decision between two cars that are both appealing but for different reasons.

Since you've already done the research, you decide to go drive the two cars. You get in the first car, see all the features you've been reading about and can't help but fall in love. This is it. You tell the salesman you'll take it.

Example 3

  • School - You are ready to enter the job force. However, you realize you're under-qualified and really unsure of the career path you want for yourself. The two options you're looking at are very different. One requires a four-year degree. The other requires a ten-month certificate program. Once again, you are dealing with an approach-approach conflict: on one hand, you have a really comprehensive program that you could finish in ten months and probably land a decent job. On the other hand, if you pursue the four-year degree, the time you commit could pay dividends with a more ideal job.

To resolve the conflict, you decide to visit with someone in the field that requires the four-year degree. Wow! This job is everything you've ever wanted. The employee is happy. The workplace is fun. The benefits are great! You could even get an internship while you're going to school. You're sold. You sign up for school the next day.

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