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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How to Control Your Emotions in Conflict Resolution

PON Staff   •  07/01/2019   •  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   •  06/25/2019   •  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 

Mediation and the Conflict Resolution Process

PON Staff   •  06/24/2019   •  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 

3 Types of Conflict and How to Address Them

Katie Shonk   •  06/04/2019   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

types of conflict

In the workplace, it sometimes seems as if conflict is always with us. Miss a deadline, and you are likely to face conflict with your boss. Lash out at a colleague who you feel continually undermines you, and you’ll end up in conflict. And if you disagree with a fellow manager about whether to represent … Read More 

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

Katie Shonk   •  05/28/2019   •  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 conflict negotiation example, how should this negotiator improve her negotiation skills? … Read More 

Conflict Resolution Examples in History: Learning from Nuclear Disarmament

Katie Shonk   •  05/27/2019   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

conflict resolution examples in history

What lessons can we learn from conflict resolution examples in history? The world of nuclear nonproliferation can be a valuable place to start, as few negotiations throughout history have had higher stakes. Conducted amid international conflicts and public scrutiny, complicated by language and cultural barriers, and carried out under tight deadlines, talks aimed at ensuring … Read More 

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