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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MESO: Make Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offers to Create Value in Dealmaking Table

PON Staff   •  08/04/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

MESO

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 

Do Attitudes in Negotiation Influence Results?

PON Staff   •  07/28/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

attitudes in negotiation

Many people consider negotiations to be stressful and threatening. Others view them as challenges to be overcome. Do these different attitudes influence the outcomes that people reach? New research by professors Kathleen M. O’Connor of Cornell University and Josh A. Arnold of California State University sheds light on this important question. … Read More 

How to Control Your Emotions in Conflict Resolution

PON Staff   •  07/21/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

conflict resolution

To guard against acting irrationally or in ways that can harm you, authors of Beyond Reason: Using Emotions As You Negotiate Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro advise you to take your emotional temperature during a negotiation. Specifically, try to gauge whether your emotions are manageable, starting to heat up, or threatening to boil over. … Read More 

Negotiating the Good Friday Agreement

PON Staff   •  07/21/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution, Daily

negotiating

Retired US Senator George Mitchell played a critical role in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. In an interview with Susan Hackley, Managing Director of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, in the February 2004 Negotiation newsletter, he describes how he was able to facilitate an agreement between these long-warring parties. … Read More 

Tough Topics in Negotiation: Negotiating a Non-Compete Agreement with Employers

PON Staff   •  07/14/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

negotiation

In integrative negotiation, each side seeks to create and claim value with an eye towards the future of the negotiating relationship. One way of securing this relationship is a noncompete agreement: Employers sometimes ask potential employees to agree not to work for their competitors in the future but don’t assume such requests are nonnegotiable. … Read More 

What is an Arbitration Agreement?

Katie Shonk   •  07/06/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

arbitration agreement

If you have ever owned a cell phone or been issued a credit card, odds are you’ve signed an arbitration agreement. You also may have signed an arbitration agreement when you started your current job or a past one, whether you remember doing so or not. … Read More 

Communication and Conflict Management: Responding to Tough Questions

Katie Shonk   •  06/22/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

conflict management

Here are a few interview questions that job candidates often dread:

“How much do you earn at your current position?”
“Can you see yourself working here in five years?”
“Do you have any other offers?”

Most of us feel compelled to respond honestly and completely to direct questions in negotiation, communication and conflict management, even when … Read More 

Dealing with Difficult People? Negotiation Lessons from Ronald Reagan

Katie Shonk   •  06/22/2020   •  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 

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