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Conflict Managment

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Conflict Management ­HRM624
Lesson 5
If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.
(A Chinese proverb)
Do not find fault, find a remedy.
Henry Ford
The greatest glory in living lies not in falling, but in rising every time we fall. Nelson Mandela
Bronfenbrenner's Theory of Social Ecology
Uri Bronfenbrenner, an eminent developmental psychologist, named the overall social structure that acts as
a source of blueprints for individuals the macrosystem. The macrosystem includes the important institutions
in which we operate- the court system, the governmental structure and so on. In his influential theory of
Social Ecology, Bronfenbrenner postulated that there is a synergistic relationship between the macro system
and the individual.
Bronfenbrenner's theory defines complex "layers" of environment, each having an effect on a child's
development.This theory has recently been renamed "bioecological systems theory" to emphasize that a child's
own biology is a primary environment fueling her/his development. The interaction between factors in the
child's maturing biology, his immediate family/community environment, and the societal landscape fuels
and steers his development. Changes or conflict in any one layer will ripple throughout other layers. To
study a child's development then, we must look not only at the child and her immediate environment, but
also at the interaction of the larger environment as well.
The macro system is structured to reflect the cultural belief systems of its inhabitants-that is because a
society is composed of its individual members, and their collective efforts maintain the macro system. The
macro system's structure generates situations in which individuals, to survive and do well, must adopt
blueprints and use tools consistent with the overall cultural belief systems.
Significance for the study of ADR in USA
Before embarking on a study of conflict and the processes of resolving it, it is necessary to appreciate that
people- particularly from westernized cultures, such as the United States- have a narrow perspective on
what conflict is and how it is best managed and resolved.
Approach to the handling of interpersonal conflict
a.  Highly individualistic
b. Featuring adversarial resolution of most disputes
c.  Reflected in a wide variety of societal institutions and policies
Cultural beliefs about interpersonal conflict
a. Role of religion
b. Conflict as battle
­  Tendency to conceptualize interpersonal conflict as a competition
­  Tendency to conceptualize interpersonal conflict as a "zero-sum" situation
­  Important factor in the underuse of "value-enlarging" processes, such as principled
negotiation and facilitative mediation
Individual beliefs vs globalization, Parents vs children ­ are some of the examples
Adversarial approach in USA
In the American system of government, the formalized structure built to handle disputes that people have
been unable to resolve on their own is the judicial system. Of all the social systems that reflect the
competitive/adversarial blueprint for conflict resolution, the American judicial system is the most stark.
Conflict Management ­HRM624
American legal process is an adversary process built on the notion that justice is achievable only through
competition. The judicial system even has a name reflective of this blueprint: the adversary system.
Members of the culture acquire the belief that this individualistic, adversarial approach is "best" in that
­  These cultural preferences and structures tend to be invisible to inhabitants.
­  Developing individuals to use adversarial for their survival and to flourish in the new
­  Most opportunities to deal with conflict are set within institutional structures that
encourage this approach.
­  For example, how is conflict resolution portrayed on TV and in movies? How does our
government handle conflict?)
­  Develop individuals' capacity by practice to execute innovative ways to handle conflict.
Role of stress and emotion in creating threat for a disputant.
Role of stress and emotion in creating the sense that the other `disputant' is threatening to one's well being
and goals is following.
·  Fear, anger, depression, and urge for happiness lead to negative stereotyping of other disputants
and the belief that their objectives are at odds with one's own objectives. (Zero sum situation)
·  Tendency for social perception during conflict to produce overly simplified, demonizing and
negative portrait of other disputant.
·  Ambiguity of interpersonal conflict ­ and ambiguous behavior is taken to be true.
·  (Happy family- discuss as an example)
ADR can be thought of as a radically innovative set of ways and means and a radically different method for
the resolution of conflict imposed on a culture featuring an adversarial and individualistic approach to
dispute resolution.
ADR innovation is often seen through the "lens" of the traditional adversary system­ of course this
typically leads to failure, causing its users to reject ADR.
When ADR processes are adopted, often adversarial features are added to them, which dilute their
Why strategies of change fail (ADR failure)
Following are the four reasons of why strategies of change fail:
a) Resistance and lack of support from others
b) Application of existing (traditional) ways and means, rather than innovative solutions
c) Lack of proficiency in using innovative tools
d) Support by social structures of traditional ways to resolve disputes.
There is a tendency for individuals to attribute failures of innovation to the superiority of the traditional
approach rather than to the four reasons given above.
Conflict Management ­HRM624
How the Conflict
Social institutions reflect predominant
adversarial (Invisible Veil) blueprint
Perpetuates Itself
Individuals usually
Powerful and influential people
(lawmakers, judges, school
administrators, etc.) apply
social institutions
adversarial blueprints and tools
Individuals get
when they maintain and reform
lots of practice
social institutions
People transmit
adversarial tools
adversarial blueprints
Some of
and tools to their
children through their
parenting styles and
grow up
to be
become proficient
using adversarial
have their
Invisible Veil
People trying to apply alternative blueprints find they don't
work as well, because
(1) They apply unsuitable tools,
(2) They use suitable tools without proficiency, and
(3) Social structures are designed to support the adversarial
blueprint only
Mukhtaran Mai
Lawyers and the American Legal System
American "adversary legal system" reflects individualistic, adversarial cultural values.
Legal disputing tradition assumes that truth and justice are best obtained via the clash of legal adversaries.
There is no empirical evidence that truth is best obtained in this manner the authoritative pronouncements
on this issue are judicial, not empirically grounded.
(Fuller and Randall do make an argument that an adversary presentation prevents bias but it does not follow
that truth will win out, only that a more unbiased result will be obtained.)
Some opinion research of legal and business professionals suggests that there is not a strong belief in the
ability of the adversary system to produce truth.
Lawyers are steeped in adversary tradition beginning with their legal education. Lawyers develop a high
degree of mastery over the use of adversarial tools. As would be predicted, this level of mastery is
accompanied by a narrowing of beliefs about how best to handle interpersonal conflict.
Basic assumptions (beliefs) of the lawyer's standard philosophical map:
Following are the basic assumptions about lawyer's philosophical map.
Zero-sum nature of all disputes.
Applying some general rule of law will resolve interpersonal conflict.
The complaint Riskin makes about the lawyer's standard philosophical map is that while these beliefs will be
true for some disputes they are not as widely applicable as many lawyers assume.
Because adversary processes have a number of damaging consequences, they should not be overused, and if
adversary processes are assumed to be "best," they will be.
Conflict Management ­HRM624
Legal System in USA
Legal system in USA reflects societal dominant adversarial milieu. Assumption is that justice is achievable
only through a clash between adversaries or individuals.
Lawyer's Standard Philosophical Map
Lawyer's Standard Philosophical Map given by `Len Riskin' has the following assumptions
a. Disputes are zero-sum
b. Disputes must be submitted to a third party, whose decision must be based on the application of law.
Limitations of Lawyer's Standard Philosophical Map
Over-application of assumptions
Failure to see or other appreciates factors that can impact dispute resolution.
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