Background: Developing an operating room conflict management educational program for surgeons requires a formal needs assessment and information about behaviors that represent effective conflict management. Methods: Focus groups of circulating room nurses and surgeons were conducted at 5 participating centers. Participants responded to queries about conflict management training, conflict consequences, and effective conflict management behaviors. Transcripts of these sessions served as the data for this study. Results: Educational preparation for conflict management was inadequate consisting of trial and error with observed behaviors. Conflict and conflict mismanagement had negative consequences for team members and team performance. Four behaviors emerge as representing effective ways for surgeons to manage conflict. Conclusions: There is a clear educational need for conflict management education. Target behaviors have now been identified that can provide the basis for a theoretically grounded and contextually adapted instruction and assessment of surgeon conflict management. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.