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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Facing controversy? Don’t forget to negotiate

PON Staff   •  11/30/2018   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

Looking back, it’s almost hard to imagine, but when then–San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting down for pregame performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” no one noticed. He’d sat through two national anthems during the 2016 preseason before reporters asked him about it. Citing racial oppression and police brutality, Kaepernick explained that he planned … Read More 

Dealing with Difficult People? Negotiation Lessons from Ronald Reagan

Katie Shonk   •  10/16/2018   •  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 Two Koreas Practice Conflict Management

Katie Shonk   •  10/16/2018   •  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 

How Mood Affects Negotiators

PON Staff   •  10/09/2018   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

negotiators

What are social psychologists learning about the connections among emotions, negotiation, and decision making? Negotiation contributor Jennifer S. Lerner of Harvard Kennedy School and her colleagues have identified two critical themes. First, they have studied the carryover of emotion from one episode, such as a car accident, to an unrelated situation, such as a workplace … Read More 

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

PON Staff   •  10/02/2018   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

MESO negotiation

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 

International Negotiation Role Playing: Understanding the Theory and Practice of Systemic Peacebuilding

PON Staff   •  09/04/2018   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

international negotiation

Policymakers, practitioners, and academics have seized on the need for peacebuilding negotiation strategies in international negotiation to be as complex and adaptive as the societies within which they work.

As a result, there are loud calls for “whole of government” or “whole of community” approaches that cross traditional sectoral boundaries.  The problem is that these approaches are … Read More 

Conflict and Negotiation Case Study: Long-Term Business Partnerships and Negotiated Agreements

PON Staff   •  09/03/2018   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

negotiation

To protect the future interests of their organization, negotiators sometimes must accept fewer benefits or absorb greater burdens in the short run to maximize the value to all relevant parties – including future employees and shareholders – over time.

Suppose that the operations VPs of two subsidiaries of an energy company are preparing to negotiate the … Read More 

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