Conflict Resolution

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.

In our special free report – The New Conflict Management – renowned negotiation experts uncover unconventional approaches to conflict management that can turn adversaries into partners.

The Importance of Sincerity

PON Staff   •  03/18/2015   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

Most of us have had the experience of delivering an apology that fell on deaf ears. When apologies fail to achieve their aims, poor delivery is usually to blame. In particular, if the recipient thinks your apology is less than sincere, she is unlikely to forgive you. … Read More 

A Cross Cultural Negotiation Example: How to Overcome Cultural Barriers

Katie Shonk   •  03/04/2015   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

After recently losing an important deal in India, a business negotiator learned that her counterpart felt as if she had been rushing through the talks. The business negotiator thought she was being efficient with their time. How can she improve her cross-cultural negotiation skills?

Research shows that dealmaking across cultures tends to lead to worse outcomes … Read More 

Conflict Management: The Challenges of Negotiating Long-Term Concerns

PON Staff   •  02/24/2015   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

To protect the future interests of their organization, negotiators sometimes must accept fewer benefits or absorb greater burdens in the short run to maximize the value to all relevant parties – including future employees and shareholders – over time.

Suppose that the operations VPs of two subsidiaries of an energy company are preparing to negotiate the … Read More 

Conflict Resolution Lessons from the Home: How Conflict Management Skills Transform Discord Into Harmony

Keith Lutz   •  02/13/2015   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

Every day diplomacy, such as resolving conflicts between family members, can inform negotiation strategies and negotiation techniques employed at the bargaining table. In this article, Bruce Feiler’s New York Times’ article “Lessons in Life Diplomacy” is examined from the perspective of broader dispute resolution and conflict management strategies. … Read More 

In “Chinatown” Conflict Resolution, the Dust Clears

Katie Shonk   •  02/10/2015   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

Using conflict resolution techniques, the city of Los Angeles recently achieved an impressive victory by ending a 100-year battle with California’s Owens Valley over water rights and air pollution.

The dispute dates back to the early 1900s, when agents working for the city of Los Angeles, posing as farmers and ranchers, bought up most of the … Read More 

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