Conflict resolution is the process of resolving a dispute or a conflict by meeting at least some of each side’s needs and addressing their interests. Conflict resolution sometimes requires both a power-based and an interest-based approach, such as the simultaneous pursuit of litigation (the use of legal power) and negotiation (attempts to reconcile each party’s interests). There are a number of powerful strategies for conflict resolution.
Knowing how to manage and resolve conflict is essential for having a productive work life, and it is important for community and family life as well. Dispute resolution, to use another common term, is a relatively new field, emerging after World War II. Scholars from the Program on Negotiation were leaders in establishing the field.
Strategies include maintaining open lines of communication, asking other parties to mediate, and keeping sight of your underlying interests. In addition, negotiators can try to resolve conflict by creating value out of conflict, in which you try to capitalize on shared interests, explore differences in preferences, priorities, and resources, capitalize on differences in forecasts and risk preferences, and address potential implementation problems up front.
These skills are useful in crisis negotiation situations and in handling cultural differences in negotiations, and can be invaluable when dealing with difficult people, helping you to “build a golden bridge” and listen to learn, in which you acknowledge the other person’s points before asking him or her to acknowledge yours.
Articles offer numerous examples of dispute resolution and explore various aspects of it, including international dispute resolution, how it can be useful in your personal life, skills needed to achieve it, and training that hones those skills.
Advocating for a higher salary or a new job title are a few of the negotiation examples many bargainers will face in their career. The barriers women negotiators face when negotiating for jobs and career advancement are well known: Women who ask for more money or better opportunities can face a backlash for violating traditional … Read More
MESO negotiation, a negotiation strategy for creating value with a counterpart who may be reluctant to negotiate, allows negotiators to propose multiple offers without signaling commitment or preference for any one option. Business negotiators that practice integrative negotiation strategies often complain that although they try to focus on creating value, they run into far too many difficult … Read More
Cognitive biases in negotiation spill over into other areas as well – such as in a courtroom. Before having a judge decide your next dispute, take into account various cognitive biases that impact negotiation strategies and negotiator techniques. … Read More
Avoiding difficult conversations hinder your abilities as a negotiator and a manager. Office conflict management requires addressing issues head on and seeking to resolve disputes while also maintaining relationships. … Read More
Policymakers, practitioners, and academics have seized on the need for peacebuilding negotiation strategies in international negotiations to be as complex and adaptive as the societies within which they work. As a result, there are loud calls for “whole of government” or “whole of community” approaches that cross traditional sectoral boundaries. The problem is that these … Read More
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Understanding how to arrange the meeting space is a key aspect of preparing for negotiation. In this video, Professor Guhan Subramanian discusses a real world example of how seating arrangements can influence a negotiator’s success. This discussion was held at the 3 day executive education workshop for senior executives at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
Guhan Subramanian is the Professor of Law and Business at the Harvard Law School and Professor of Business Law at the Harvard Business School.