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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Dealing with Difficult People? Negotiation Lessons from Ronald Reagan

Katie Shonk   •  01/11/2021   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

negotiation

In recent months, U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders have struggled to find a winning strategy to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to back away from his aggressions toward Ukraine. In a Wall Street Journal editorial, Ken Adelman, U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations and arms-control director, writes that recently … Read More 

The Pitfalls of Negotiations Over Email

PON Staff   •  12/28/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

online

Negotiation research suggests that email often poses more problems than solutions when it comes to relationships, information exchange, and outcomes in conflict resolution negotiation scenarios. First, establishing social rapport via email can be challenging. The lack of nonverbal cues and the dearth of social norms regarding its use can cause negotiators to be impolite and … Read More 

Mediation and the Conflict Resolution Process

PON Staff   •  12/21/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

mediation

It’s often the case that when two people or organizations try to resolve a dispute by determining who is right, they get stuck. That’s why so many disputes end up in court. There is a better way to resolve your dispute: by hiring an expert mediator who focuses not on rights but on interests—the needs, … Read More 

The Two Koreas Practice Conflict Management

Katie Shonk   •  12/21/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

conflict management

In August 2015, the decades-long conflict between South Korea and North Korea threatened to reach a breaking point. The causes of conflict between North and South go deep, but in this case, the South accused the North of planting landmines that seriously injured two South Korean border guards. South Korea retaliated with an old tactic … Read More 

Conflict Management: Intervening in Workplace Conflict

PON Staff   •  12/17/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

conflict management

Question: I’m aware of lots of unresolved personnel issues that seem to be festering in my department, such as complaints about someone who is not doing his share of the work, another person whose griping is causing a drop in morale, and two coworkers who can’t seem to get along. I’m comfortable negotiating with customers, … Read More 

Managing Conflicts of Interest

Katie Shonk   •  12/14/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

Managing Conflicts of Interest

An agent—whether a real-estate agent, lawyer, literary agent, or financial adviser—can provide the knowledge, experience, connections, and negotiation skills and strategies needed to get you a great deal. But we tend to forget that agents’ and clients’ financial interests are almost never perfectly aligned. A busy real-estate agent may advise you to offer more for … Read More 

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