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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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 

Conflict Management: Intervening in Workplace Conflict

PON Staff   •  06/11/2020   •  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 

Conflict Resolution in the Family

PON Staff   •  06/08/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

conflict resolution

In Lessons in Domestic Diplomacy, the New York Times’ Bruce Feiler, drawing on family conflict resolution negotiation examples in his past, offers a case study of conflict management by focusing on disputes in the home, asking, “how do we break out of negative patterns of conduct and proactively approach problems encountered in our everyday lives?” … Read More 

Conflict Management and Negotiation: Personality and Individual Differences That Matter

PON Staff   •  06/04/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

negotiation

Although Elfenbein and her colleagues did find that negotiators performed at a similar level from one negotiation to the next, to their surprise, these scores were only minimally related to specific personality traits. And traits that are basically unchangeable, such as gender, ethnic background, and physical attractiveness, were not closely connected to people’s scores.

A small … Read More 

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