Prepare for the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument Test

TKI History and Purpose

In 1974, Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann introduced their Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, which is currently published solely by Myers-Briggs. This is the largest-selling conflict-style assessment, with over five million copies in print.

TKI highlights the individual’s usual style of dealing with conflict situations, and it presents a five-point model for altering the mode of conflict resolution in order to more successfully respond to different situations.

Conflict-Styles Model of the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument

Measured in terms of “assertiveness” and “cooperativeness," TKI covers five basic types of handling conflict scenarios:

  1. Competing – assertive & uncooperative: This is a power-based type of response that is often utilized in circumstances such as demanding your rights, simply trying to win, or defending your position.
  2. Collaborating – assertive & cooperative: Teamwork is often enhanced when the individuals each try to establish a resolution that is fully agreeable to all parties.
  3. Compromising – to some degree both assertive & cooperative: A compromise can be reached when everyone involved in the conflict gives a little and takes a little so that they are all partially satisfied.
  4. Avoiding – non-assertive & uncooperative: You are responding to a conflict with avoidance when you completely ignore the situation, postpone or sidestep the scenario, or withdraw from the incident.
  5. Accommodating – non-assertive & cooperative: This mode of conflict management entails giving up your own concerns to satisfy the other person’s issues. Obeying orders, selflessness, and accepting the conclusions of others are a few of the accommodation responses.


Assertiveness measures the extent to which you seek to satisfy your own issues, while cooperativeness assesses your attempts to satisfy the concerns of others.

TKI Format and Types of Questions

The Thomas-Kilmann Instrument Questionnaire is short and quick. You can expect to find 30 items. The assessment is administered using one of two formats: the TKI Profile and Interpretive Report online or = a self-scoring booklet formatted in paper & pencil.

Each TKI question consists of two distinct ways of handling conflict scenarios. The task is to select A or B — whichever most closely reflects your behavior when confronted with a conflict situation. The following are two examples of the types of items you will face on the TKI test:

  • I try to work with others for the benefit of a successful outcome.
  • I attempt to postpone issues until I have analyzed them.
  • I sometimes forgo my own concerns to satisfy the other person.
  • I prefer finding a compromise resolution.

When taking the TKI, imagine that what you want to do differs from the desired action of another individual.

Scoring a Thomas-Kilmann Instrument Assessment

Every item is scored on the basis of which conflict response type your answer reveals. The raw score for each conflict style is converted into a percentile that is compared with the TKI of other people who are taking the test.

Keep in mind that a trait valued by one prospective employer may be a trait that does not work well with the corporate culture or job requirements of another prospective employer. Before taking any personality test, make sure to study the employer’s attitudes and priorities as well as the clear parameters of the position.

Preparing for Behavior-based Exams

Working on sample personality tests yields the benefit of familiarizing you with the types of questions you will face on the actual assessment. JobTestPrep has developed a wide range of personality practice tests designed to contribute to your employment application success. 

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