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Conflict Managment

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Conflict Management ­HRM624
Lesson 26
Power is where power goes.
Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908 - 1973) U.S. president.
Headmasters have powers at their disposal with which Prime Ministers have never yet been invested.
Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) British prime minister and writer.
There is no history of mankind, there are only many histories of all kinds of aspects of human life. And one
of these is the history of political power. This is elevated into the history of the world. Karl Popper (1902 -
1994) Austrian-born British philosopher.
The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse. Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797) Irish-born
British statesman and political philosopher. Speech to the British Parliament
The weak have one weapon: the errors of those who think they are strong. George Bidault (1899 - 1983)
French statesman.
Power, Conflict, and BATNA
Power: the force to modify behavior of individuals, groups, societies, or nations
Conflict: Clash of interests among individuals, groups, societies, or nations
BATNA: Best Alternative to the Negotiated Agreement
BATNA is a term coined by Roger Fisher and William Ury in1981. It stands for "best alternative to a
negotiated agreement."
It is always useful to increase one's BATNA, as it increases negotiating power. Good negotiators use it for
the better results of negotiation. If a negotiator is well aware of how desperately the other party wants to
come to a settlement, the negotiator may use the opportunity according to his/her terms and conditions.
Therefore making your BATNA as strong as possible before negotiating, and then making that BATNA
known to your opponent; strengthen your negotiating position.
In an interpersonal conflict, does the exercise of power in the other two power domains, personal and
environmental, have any relevance? The answer is yes. Sometimes, a disputant finds that using negotiation
to meet his or her interests and needs is not as useful as getting those goals attained some other way.
The best of all available ATNAs for any given disputant is referred to as the Best
Alternative to Negotiated Agreement, or BATNA.
Knowing, the BATNA protects a disputant, and the team, from irrational action. Trying to resolve a
conflict without knowing the BATNA put the team in the untenable position of not knowing whether to
negotiate or to stop negotiating. Many disputants deal with this pressure to act irrationally by developing a
bottom line. If the negotiation leads to deal that's as good as the bottom line, the negotiators will settle;
otherwise they won't.
Knowing the BATNA also helps a disputant and the team to act with efficiency. The team chooses to
negotiate only if there appear to be potential benefits to negotiating, stays in negotiation only as long as it
appears to be potentially beneficial, and gains a clear idea of what to do in the event that negotiation does
not lead to settlement. There is less wasted time, money, effort and trauma.
Conflict Management ­HRM624
Role of Third Party in BATNA
Third parties can help disputants accurately assess their BATNAs through reality testing and costing. In
reality testing, the third party helps clarify and ground each disputing party's alternatives to agreement.
Assessing the BATNA
BATNA assessment follows a six-step process.
1. Conduct an Interest Analysis
2. Brainstorm the Alternatives to a Negotiated Agreement
3. Fine-tunes the Alternatives
4. Assess Each Alternative Realistically
5. Choose the best alternative
6. Regularly Reassess the BATNA
Conduct an Interest Analysis
BATNA assessment begins with an interest analysis. Why? Because there is no way to determine which
alternative to negotiation is best without a clear picture of the disputant's interest, needs, and goals.
Brainstorm the Alternatives to a Negotiated Agreement
Can the disputant meets his or her goal by exercising personal power or by spending some money or
consider litigation.
Fine-tunes the Alternatives
Develop a list of alternatives to a negotiated agreement. Personal power and environmental power are
highly relevant to this stage of BATNA analysis.
Personal power and environmental power are highly relevant to this stage of BATNA analysis.
Assess Each Alternative Realistically
In assessing both costs and benefits, it is important to avoid the temptation to limit the analysis to the
monetary aspects of the alternative. Non monetary factors such as the impact of the alternative on
relationships, the potential for conflict escalation, and the grief and wasted time that some alternatives
might produce, are equally important to consider.
Choose the best alternative
The next step is to compare the estimated costs or benefits of each alternative to the disputant's goals to
determine which the `best' alternative is. This is the disputant's BATNA.
When developing a BATNA, a negotiator should:
Brainstorm a list of alternatives that could be considered if the negotiation failed to deliver a favorable
Select the most promising alternatives and develop them into practical and attainable alternatives: and
Identify the most beneficial alternative to be kept in reserve as a fall-back during the negotiation.
Regularly Reassess the BATNA
Situations change, new information becomes available, and disputant interests can evolve or change. Some
alternative that were formerly available may disappear, and others may develop.
Knowing the other Disputant's BATNA
It is useful to know the other disputant's BATNA as well as your own. The better the other disputant's
BATNA, the lower your team's chances of an excellent outcome in negotiation (unless the other disputant's
team is unaware of their BATNA).
Conflict Management ­HRM624
Litigation and the BATNA: Performing Case Valuation
In most legal disputes, the choices will be either to settle with this disputant or to go to court. If you are
assessing the BATNA of a potential claimant, the options often are to negotiate a settlement, walk away
without compensation, or to file a lawsuit.
Where do attorneys get their figures? Case valuation is a very inexact science. Attorneys use the following
information to help them value a case:
1. Their experiences with similar cases
2. Their knowledge of, or research into, the applicable law
3. Their knowledge of the presiding judge
4. Their assessment of the believability and likeability of the witness
5. Their assessment of the evidence
6. Their assessment of opposing counsel
7. Their institution
Drawbacks of BATNA Analysis
Understanding and appreciating the BATNA has many advantages. Having a well-conceived BATNA in
mind can lead to better decisions about whether to accept a (1) settlement, (2) "hang in" with a negotiation
or (3) end a negotiation. Moreover, the other disputant's BATNA can help you gain needed leverage and
make more realistic assessments of the prospects of negotiation.
BATNA analysis has three drawbacks. The first is that it's often difficult to perform BATNA analysis
accurately. And, when you misconstrue a BATNA, the effects can be unwanted.
1. A common mistake in BATNA analysis is to omit the non-monetary implications of ATNAs (for
example bad relations).
2. The second drawback to BATNA analysis is that it often takes a great deal of time, money, and resources.
This is particularly true when litigation is involved.
3. The third drawback to the BATNA is that, in some circumstances, it is not relevant.
These circumstances usually relate to conflict involving long-term, close, intimate, family relationships.
Power Imbalance
In a technical sense, no two disputants have the same degree of power. Each interpersonal conflict brings
together two or more persons or entities with complex patterns of power.
It is frequently true that disputants have obviously un-equal powers (for example gender power).
Power affects the choices that individual disputants are able to make and the degree of influence that one
disputant can have on another.
Group Power Imbalance
A high-power group is highly likely to wield or threaten coercive, brutal, and sadistic power. Group power
imbalance sets in motion a series of processes that reinforce and increase the existing power imbalance.
Once group power imbalance is in place, it can be very difficult to dislodge. These considerations can set
the stage for explosive and violent clashes if the lower-power group does not accept its status.
The identity of the lower-power group members is transformed from "helpless victim" to "rights struggle"
and the higher-power group correctly views this new attitude as a direct threat to its entrenched privileges.
The identities of the struggling groups tend to perpetuate a protracted, competitive, and destructive conflict
Becoming Empowered
Power means choice. The more power you have, the better your range of choices and the better the
potential outcomes you have.
We usually think of people wielding power in the relationship domain to get the outcome they want, as in
when they threaten one another or take a legal dispute to court to coerce a favorable outcome. But another
Conflict Management ­HRM624
important use of relationship power is to influence the other disputant to engage in the most desirable
conflict resolution process.
Power exercised in the personal and environmental domains can produce better alternatives to a negotiated
agreement and, hence, better BATNAs.
Changes wrought by uses of power in the personal and environmental domains can also improve a
disputant's ability to wield power in relationship.
Empowerment can be produced two ways: either the amount of power can be increased or the person's
ability to use what powers he/she has can be strengthened.
Overall, it is often the case that the expert power is more alterable than any other type of power. Expert
power is the least likely form of power to create alienation, conflict participants who seek to empower
themselves are smart to begin by increasing this form of power.
Dealing with Power Imbalance
Legal scholars differ on whether power imbalance is best dealt with through zealous and adversarial
advocacy or whether less competitive processes can be used effectively to handle power imbalance.
Some legal experts argue that the only effective means for dealing with power imbalance is to resort to the
legal system or to resort to extra-legal processes, such as violent or revolutionary struggle.
Implications for conflict diagnosis
The concept of power, applied to interpersonal conflict, goes far beyond the commonly held idea of
physical force. A conflict diagnostician must be able to understand how power operates in each of three
major domains (relationship, environmental, and personal) and to identify the types of power available to
the conflict participants in each domain.
Power is a context-specific attribute. A characteristics of an individual disputant, his or her resources and
environment, or his or her team may spell out considerable power in one circumstance but helpless in
There are no "Magic Bullets" that can fix power imbalances. A conflict diagnostician needs to examine each
situation and carefully consider the interests of the disputants.
Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION TO CONFLICT:Dispute, Legal Dispute, Call the police
  2. DISPUTE RESOLUTION 1:Positive affect in Negotiation, Alternative Dispute Resolution
  3. DISPUTE RESOLUTION II:Adjudication, Litigation, Mediation-Arbitration
  4. PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT CONFLICT I:Pedagogical development, Pressures against Innovation
  5. PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT CONFLICT II:Cultural beliefs about interpersonal conflict, Why strategies of change fail
  6. CONFLICT DIAGNOSIS:Who Needs to Know About Conflict Diagnosis?, Steps in Conflict Diagnosis
  7. RECURRENT THEMES IN CONFLICT DIAGNOSIS I:The Seven Steps of Social Behavior, Seven steps to diagnose conflict
  9. DESCRIBING THE CONFLICT I:Description of Conflict, Identifying Interpersonal Conflict
  10. DESCRIBING THE CONFLICT II:Step 1 for Conflict Diagnosis, interpersonal or intrapersonal
  11. SOURCES AND CAUSES OF CONFLICT I:Main Sources of Conflict, Discussing major sources of conflict
  13. INTEREST ANALYSIS I:Analyzing your interests, Analyzing the other disputant’s interests
  14. INTEREST ANALYSIS II:What are interests?, Tips for Interest Trees
  15. INTEREST ANALYSIS II:Principles and values, Basic Human Needs
  16. ASSESSING THE CHARACTER OF THE CONFLICT I, Premises of Deutsch’s Theory
  17. ASSESSING THE CHARACTER OF THE CONFLICT II:Techniques to transform competitive conflict into cooperative
  18. TRUST AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE I:What is Mistrust,Trust and business,Three levels of trust
  19. TRUST AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE II:Advantages of high trust level, Building of trust
  20. ASSESSING IMPEDIMENTS TO RESOLVE THE CONFLICT I:Motivation to seek vengeance, Mistrust
  21. ASSESSING THE IMPEDIMENTS TO RESOLVING THE CONFLICT II:Disempowered Disputant, Unpleasant Disputant
  22. ASSESSING THE NEGOTIATING STYLE I:Dual Concern Model, Dominating or competition style
  23. ASSESSING THE NEGOTIATING STYLE:Dual Concern Model, Tactics Used In Integrating
  24. ASSESSING POWER AMONG DISPUTANTS:Conflict and Power, Kinds of power in the Relationship Domain
  25. ASSESSING POWER AMONG DISPUTANTS II:Sources of Relationship Power, Context and Power
  26. POWER, CONFLICT, AND BATNA III:Role of Third Party in BATNA, Dealing with Power Imbalance
  27. STEREOTYPES, DIVERSITY, AND CONFLICT I:Stereotyping, Stereotyping in Interpersonal Conflict
  28. STEREOTYPES, DIVERSITY, AND CONFLICT:Categories of Diversity Issues, Seven Mental Processes to Prove Stereotypes
  29. STEREOTYPES, DIVERSITY AND CONFLICT III:Individual Difference and Social Category, Cultural differences in values
  30. MEDIATION I:When is mediation required, Processes Related to Mediation, Product of Mediation
  31. MEDIATION II:Important distinguishing factors, More Advantages and Disadvantages of Pure Mediation
  32. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF MEDIATION I:Efficiency Consideration, Conflict Management and Prevention
  33. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF MEDIATION II:Quality of Consent, Effects on the parties to mediation
  34. PROCESS OF MEDIATION:Stages of Mediation, Facilitative tactics in mediation
  35. LAW AND ETHICS OF MEDIATION I:Characteristics of mediation, Confidentiality
  36. LAW AND ETHICS OF MEDIATION II:Role of ethics in mediation, 8 Dimensions of Ethics in Mediation
  37. ARBITRATION I:Ways to Resolve Conflict, Advantages of Arbitration, Disadvantages of Arbitration
  38. ARBITRATION II:Varieties of Arbitration, Process of Arbitration, Contents of Arbitration Act
  39. NON BINDING EVALUATION:Disadvantage, Varieties of Non-binding Evaluation
  40. NON BINDING EVALUATION II:Varieties of Non-binding Evaluation, Advantages and disadvantages of Non-binding Evaluation
  41. MIXED AND MULTIMODAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION:Six System Design Principles, Extensions of Dispute Systems Design
  42. POWER TOOLS AND MAGIC KEYS I:Introduction, Necessity of conflict diagnosis, Using conflict diagnosis
  43. POWER TOOLS AND MAGIC KEYS II:Proposed Contents of a Clients’ Interview, Impediments to use facilitative mediation
  44. PANCHAYAT, LOCAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEM, AND ADR, Definitions of Panchayat, Definition of Jirga
  45. SUMMARY AND MESSAGE OF THE COURSE:Definitions of conflict, Negotiation, Meditation, Adjudication