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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Dealing with Difficult People? Negotiation Lessons from Ronald Reagan

Katie Shonk   •  01/02/2023   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution


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 … Learn More About This Program 

Do Attitudes in Negotiation Influence Results?

PON Staff   •  12/22/2022   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

attitudes in negotiation

Many people consider negotiations to be stressful and threatening. Others view them as challenges to be overcome. Do these different attitudes influence the outcomes that people reach? New research by professors Kathleen M. O’Connor of Cornell University and Josh A. Arnold of California State University sheds light on this important question. … Read Do Attitudes in Negotiation Influence Results? 

Learning from Feedback without Losing Your Mind

Katie Shonk   •  12/19/2022   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

learning from feedback

During the coronavirus pandemic, you might have gotten a lot of feedback, whether from the new “coworkers” in your home, the boss you only see in video meetings, or strangers critical of your social-distancing practices. You can begin learning from feedback, though. Instead of retreating after receiving feedback, open up a conversation, Heen and Stone … Read Learning from Feedback without Losing Your Mind 

The Pitfalls of Negotiations Over Email

PON Staff   •  11/28/2022   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

negotiation Negotiations over email

Negotiation research suggests that email often poses more problems than solutions when it comes to relationships, information exchange, and outcomes in conflict resolution negotiation scenarios. First, establishing social rapport via email can be challenging. The lack of nonverbal cues and the dearth of social norms regarding its use can cause negotiators to be impolite and … Read The Pitfalls of Negotiations Over Email 

The Two Koreas Practice Conflict Management

Katie Shonk   •  11/21/2022   •  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 The Two Koreas Practice Conflict Management 

Dear Negotiation Coach: Putting Personal Conflict Management Into Practice

PON Staff   •  11/01/2022   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

personal conflict management

Negotiation and bargaining isn’t limited to the business world. There are many situations where personal conflict management skills are helpful. We received a question regarding this topic recently.

Q: My former spouse of 18 years and I had an explosive breakup a year ago. After failing to overcome our mutual hostility during divorce mediation, we have … Learn More About This Program 

3 Keys to Effective Leadership in Difficult Negotiations

PON Staff   •  10/13/2022   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

effective leadership

A medical facility might not be the first place you think of for effective leadership in a negotiation. But that’s precisely what took place between a doctor and his patients. At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City, a leading cancer research and treatment institution, doctors often will advise men who are … Learn More About This Program 

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 

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