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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Cultural Conflicts in the Covid-19 Era

Katie Shonk   •  06/01/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

cultural conflicts

During the Covid-19 pandemic, new types of conflict are arising. People are arguing on Facebook or Twitter about whether stay-at-home orders have gone too far. Protestors—sometimes armed—are showing up at state capitols, demanding the right to move about freely. In your own home, you may be clashing with teens who are trying to assert the … Read More 

In Conflict Resolution, President Carter Turned Flaws Into Virtues

Katie Shonk   •  05/28/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

conflict resolution

When it comes to conflict resolution, surprisingly useful nuggets of advice come from the realm of international conflict. Take the Camp David Accords of 1978, as described minute-by-minute by Lawrence Wright in his new book, Thirteen Days in September. U.S. President Jimmy Carter made history by negotiating a peaceful end to the conflict between Israel … Read More 

Learning from Feedback without Losing Your Mind

Katie Shonk   •  05/26/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

During the coronavirus pandemic, you might be getting 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. During a MaInstead of retreating after receiving feedback, open up a conversation, Heen and Stone advise. We need to get … Read More 

Integrative Negotiations: Dispute Resolution Through Joint Fact-Finding

PON Staff   •  05/12/2020   •  Filed in Conflict Resolution

integrative negotiations

Sometimes parties to a dispute disagree on key facts and forecasts but lack the technical or scientific expertise needed to come to a consensus. Suppose, for instance, that a developer is seeking to build a high-rise condominium building in a village that is experiencing a development boom. Longtime residents fight the proposal, arguing that another … Read More 

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

PON Staff   •  04/21/2020   •  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 

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