It's worth the time when long-term relationships are at stake, but may not be when time is of the essence or the relationship is transitory. (If a store clerk in the airport wants to talk on the phone with a friend instead of serving you, and you have a plane to catch, you probably won't use a collaborative problem solving approach. You just want to pay for your item and be on your way.)
Likewise, yielding is fine when one person doesn't have much investment in the outcome and the other person does. Yielding hurts when it's habitual--one person always gives in to the other. Others may perceive habitual yielders as doormats and walk all over them. An example in the workplace is when someone always says "yes" to all his manager's requests without discussing risks and negotiating. The long term cost of habitual yielding is resentment, depression, anger, and contempt.
Avoidance may be the best policy when there's nothing to be gained by working through an issue. For example, one manager walked away from a conflict with a peer when they couldn't agree on a testing standard. He saw that the situation would correct itself as soon as the standard (which he believed was misguided) was published to the organization, and that arguing with his peer would only
damage their relationship.
We often hear that compromise is the ideal, and sometimes it is. But looking for compromise often ends in a half-horse, half-camel solution that isn't fully satisfying to anyone. Compromise leads people to miss novel solutions that can satisfy both parties and may be better than either of the original solutions. Pam could have compromised and agreed to turn over partially completed features, but that wouldn't have worked out well for either Pam or Jim. Compromise is the best option when it's clear that a collaborative solution isn't possible.
Like Pam and Jim, most of us have a preferred style for approaching conflict. Sometimes it works for us-and sometimes it doesn't. When we approach every conflict with the same style, regardless of what's at stake and without consideration for maintaining important relationships, we may win in the short term but lose in the long term. Or we may avoid a difficult conversation but build up resentment. We're all more effective when we develop our ability to approach conflict with the style that suits the situation. Consciously choosing which approach fits best, given the stakes and the relationships, is a winning strategy every time.