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   •  10/04/2022   •  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. … Learn More About This Program 

Negotiating the Good Friday Agreement

PON Staff   •  10/04/2022   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution, Daily


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 Negotiating the Good Friday Agreement 

Value Creation in Negotiation: Capitalize on Multiple Issues

PON Staff   •  09/19/2022   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

Value Creation in Negotiation handshake

Between 2017 and 2019, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the European Union (E.U.) negotiated the terms of Brexit, the U.K.’s official departure from the E.U. The talks were contentious and stalled often, ultimately being extended by six months.

The trouble started even before the negotiations began, as the parties disagreed about how the process should unfold. … Learn More About This Program 

Ask A Negotiation Expert: Dealing With Conflict? Bring High-Level Values to the Table

PON Staff   •  09/06/2022   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

dealing with conflict

Melvin Shakun is a management consultant, professor emeritus at New York University, and founding editor of the international journal Group Decision and Negotiation. He spoke with Negotiation Briefings about dealing with conflict, and how negotiators can break through impasse by appealing to common values. … Learn More About This Program 

Negotiation Skills and Strategies: Winning Over Reluctant Counterparts

Katie Shonk   •  06/13/2022   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

White House Negotiation Skills and Strategies

In the aftermath of the December 2012 killing of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, then-president Barack Obama moved gun control to the top of his legislative agenda. By April 2013, the Senate was considering requiring universal criminal background checks for all gun purchases and banning assault weapons … Learn More About This Program 

Negotiation in the News: The Art of Communication and Conflict Resolution

PON Staff   •  05/05/2022   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

communication and conflict resolution

What do you do when you believe you’ve been wronged, the offending party won’t talk to you, and you have no legal recourse? Would you look for new paths for communication and conflict resolution? Or would you go public?

That’s what the world-renowned art museum the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, did in January 2019 to … Learn More About This Program 

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