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Table of ContentsConflict Management

Conflict Management - 5 / 18 / 2002
     - occurs when people are not obtaining what they need or want
        and are seeking their own self-interest
    sometimes individual is not aware of need and unconsciously starts to act out
    other times individual is very aware of need and actively works at achieving goal
about conflict
    conflict is inevitable
    develops because we are dealing with people
        lives, jobs, children, pride, self-concept, ego and sense of mission or purpose
    early indicators of conflict can be recognized
    strategies for resolution that are available and DO work
    conflict can be minimized, diverted and/or resolved
conflict management styles
    determined by degree of concern for own outcome and for other's outcome
    cooperative / problem solving
        conflict as beneficial
        handled in an open manner / gives equal consideration to both people and results
        open & honest communication 
            everybody in conflict is trained in problem solving methods
            the parties have common goals
            conflict arises from simple misunderstanding or lack of communication
    forcing / competition
        reaching goals more important than a concern for other people
            you or group needs an immediate action or decision
            all parties in conflict expect and appreciate use of power and force
            all parties in conflict see power relationship between them
        some is better than none
        everybody should have an equal chance to express opinions
            both parties will gain something
            an ideal solution isn't needed
            you need a temporary solution for a complex problem
            both sides have equal power
        leave me out of it
        opting to ignore the conflict, hoping it will go away
            issues are trivial
            parties in conflict lack skills to reach win-win resolutions
            potential losses in conflict outweigh any gains
            time frame is insufficient to work through issues of conflict
    smoothing / accommodating
        me last
        feels a high level of concern for the people involved
            issues are minor
            damage to relationship will hurt all parties involved in conflict
            there is a need to temporarily reduce conflict to get more information
            tempers are too hot to progress
beginnings of conflict
    lack of resources
    difference in norms
    the lack of integrative options
    poor communication
    imbalance of power
    dissatisfaction with leadership style
    weak leadership
    lack of openness
    change in leadership
conflict indicators
    body language
    disagreements, regardless of issue
    withholding bad news
    strong public statements
    airing disagreements through media
    conflicts in value system
    desire for power
    increasing lack of respect
    open disagreement
    lack of candor on sensitive issues
    lack of clear goals
    no discussion of progress, failure relative to goals
conflict escalation
    contending strategies shift from light to heavy tactics
    specific issue grows into a number of issues
    shift from the specific to the general
    goals change from doing well, to winning, to harming the other side
    number of participants swells.
destructive conflict
    takes attention away from other important activities
    undermines morale or self-concept
    polarizes people and groups, reducing cooperation
    increases or sharpens difference
    leads to irresponsible & harmful behavior
        fighting, name-calling
constructive conflict
    results in clarification of important problems & issues
    results in solutions to problems
    involves people in resolving issues important to them
    causes authentic communication
    helps release emotion, anxiety, and stress
    builds cooperation among people
        learning more about each other
    joining in resolving the conflict
    helps individuals develop understanding & skills
techniques for avoiding and/or resolving conflict
    meet conflict head on
    set goals
    plan for and communicate frequently
    be honest about concerns
    agree to disagree
        healthy disagreement builds better decisions
    get individual ego out of management style
    let team create
        people will support what they help create
    discuss differences in values openly
    continually stress the importance of following policy
    communicate honestly
        avoid playing "gotcha" type games
    provide more data & information than is needed
    develop a sound leadership system
elements of a strong partnership
    full disclosure
    frequent two-way communication
    careful planning
    informal interaction
    periodic evaluation
    mutual support
courageous decision controversies
    controversies usually involve
        changes in the way "we've always done things"
        notions of fundamental values
        determined, articulate advocates for every side
        inability to compromise
        rampant rumors
        threats of retaliation
        resolving conflict
nine possible causes of conflict
    conflict with self
    needs or wants are not being met
    values are being tested
    perceptions are being questioned
    assumptions are being made
    knowledge is minimal
    expectations are too high/too low
    personality, race, or gender differences are present
    reaching consensus through collaboration
guidelines for reaching consensus
    avoid arguing over individual ranking or position
        present position as logically as possible
    avoid win-lose statements
    avoid changing of minds in order to avoid conflict and to achieve harmony
    avoid majority voting, averaging, bargaining, or coin flipping
        does not lead to consensus
    holding different views is both natural & healthy
    view initial agreement as suspect
        explore reasons underlying apparent agreement
        make sure members have willingly agreed
Managing Conflict: Getting Along at Work - James G. Patterson
Social Conflict: Escalation, Stalemate and Settlement - Dean G. Pruitt & Jeffrey Z. Rubin

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