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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Moving Toward Group Conflict Resolution

PON Staff   •  03/24/2022   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

group conflict resolution

Over the years, what many believe to be Jesus’s tomb in Jerusalem’s Old City has been the site of tensions that have at times escalated into violence. Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Roman Catholic communities guard the shrine surrounding the tomb, which they consider the holiest site in … Read Moving Toward Group Conflict Resolution 

For Hollywood Writers, a Heavily Negotiated Business Contract

PON Staff   •  03/10/2022   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

business contract

In its negotiations for a new business contract with entertainment companies back in 2017, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) delivered at the bargaining table what many film and TV viewers crave onscreen: plenty of suspense and a hard-won, if imperfect, victory.
The WGA, which represents more than 12,000 film and TV writers, negotiated for seven … Learn More About This Program 

Using Online Dispute Resolution and E-Mediation to Resolve Workplace Conflict

PON Staff   •  10/28/2021   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

online dispute resolution

When their employees get into disagreements with one another, managers have various ways of coping. For example, they can try to mediate the dispute themselves; they can make use of in-house procedures and systems set up for managing disputes, if they exist; or they can refer the case to a professional mediator. Increasingly, employers are … Learn More About This Program 

Conflict-Management Styles: Pitfalls and Best Practices

Katie Shonk   •  10/25/2021   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

People approach conflict differently, depending on their innate tendencies, their life experiences, and the demands of the moment. Negotiation and conflict-management research reveals how our differing conflict-management styles mesh with best practices in conflict resolution.
A Model of Conflict-Management Styles
In 1974, Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann introduced a questionnaire, the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, … Learn More About This Program 

Madeleine Albright’s Ways to Avoid Conflict In Negotiation: First, Put Yourself In Their Shoes

PON Staff   •  07/29/2021   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

ways to avoid conflict

When parties can trade on their preferences across different issues, they reduce the need to haggle over price and percentages. But are there ways to avoid conflict in other types of negotiation?
To find ways to avoid conflict, especially deep-seated conflicts, and reach agreement with adversaries, former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright advises close observation … Learn More About This Program 

Ask A Negotiation Expert: Negotiation Means Sometimes Having To Say You’re Sorry

PON Staff   •  01/31/2021   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

An apology can be an essential means of repairing trust and rebuilding damaged relationships. Yet we don’t always apologize effectively, according to Jeswald Salacuse, a distinguished professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and a faculty member of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. We spoke to Salacuse about … Learn More About This Program 

Managing Conflicts of Interest

Katie Shonk   •  12/14/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

Managing Conflicts of Interest

An agent—whether a real-estate agent, lawyer, literary agent, or financial adviser—can provide the knowledge, experience, connections, and negotiation skills and strategies needed to get you a great deal. But we tend to forget that agents’ and clients’ financial interests are almost never perfectly aligned. A busy real-estate agent may advise you to offer more for … Read Managing Conflicts of Interest 

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