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.

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Case Study of Conflict Management: To Resolve Disputes and Manage Conflicts, Assume a Neutral 3rd Party Role

PON Staff   •  02/23/2017   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

case study of conflict management and negotiation difficult conversations and telling the third story

In their book Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Penguin Putnam, 2000), authors Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen tell us how to engage in the conversations in our professional or personal lives that make us uncomfortable by examining a case study of conflict management. Tough, honest conversations are critical for managers, … Read More 

International Negotiation Role Playing: Systems Thinking and Peace-Building

PON Staff   •  01/31/2017   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

international negotiation - peacebuilding negotiation strategies in international negotiations

Policymakers, practitioners, and academics have seized on the need for peacebuilding negotiation strategies in international negotiation 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 approaches are … Read More 

How to Manage Conflict at Work

Katie Shonk   •  01/30/2017   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

How to manage conflict at work

Sooner or later, almost all of us will find ourselves trying to cope with how to manage conflict at work. At the office, we may struggle to work through high-pressure situations with people with whom we have little in common. We need a special set of strategies to calm tempers, restore order, and meet each … Read More 

How to Resolve Cultural Conflict: Overcoming Cultural Barriers at the Negotiation Table

Katie Shonk   •  01/26/2017   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

cultural conflict

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. In this useful cross-cultural negotiation example, how should this negotiator improve her negotiation skills? … Read More 

Advanced Negotiation Strategies and Concepts Using Negotiation Examples from Real Life: Hostage Negotiation Tips for Business Negotiators

PON Staff   •  01/17/2017   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

Advanced Negotiation Strategies

Upset by a delay in the delivery of one of your products, a longtime buyer threatens to turn to the media unless you meet his extreme demands. Not only is the relationship in jeopardy, but your company’s reputation seems to be as well. What should you do? Turn to some tried and true hostage negotiation … Read More 

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