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Conflict Managment

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Conflict Management ­HRM624
Lesson 7
"No doubt there are other important things in life besides conflict, but there are not many other things so
inevitably interesting. The very saints interest us most when we think of them as engaged in a conflict with
the Devil." Robert Lynd
Nelson Mandella had been in conflict through out his life and now he is one of the most respected persons
in the world.
In this lecture we will try to understand the circumstances in which human beings misperceive, misinterpret,
and mistreat during interpersonal conflict.
Understanding and diagnosing interpersonal conflict
Interpersonal conflict is part of everyday life. It exists when there is incompatibility of goals. It occurs in
every type of relationship. In interpersonal conflict, what we think we see is often not what really goes on.
Also what the other disputant is responding to is often not what we think he or she is responding to.
Conflict is not necessarily a negative phenomenon; it also plays a positive role in everyday life. When we see
some relationship prima facie without conflict, it can not necessarily be taken as good or healthy
relationship. There must be some hidden conflicts which may be more harmful for a relationship as
compared with some known conflict. These relationships may include workplace relationships, business
relationships, family relationships, or relationships among friends. Hostility and resentment can destroy
interpersonal relationships whereas conflict may be productive if taken positively. Disputants may solve the
problems by resolving the conflicting issues.
Sources of conflict are usually hidden
Opposing needs, ideas, goals and interests may be the sources of conflict. Conflicts may be real and/or
perceived (Corvette, 2007). Conflict is a very complex and multifaceted phenomenon. Most of the time, it is
not what we see or perceive rather it is something else and somewhere else. It is often heard that perception
is more important than reality. Our perceptions affect most of the part of our behavior and attitude.
Social and cognitive psychology provides a cognitive structure to understand complex and paradoxical ideas.
For better understanding and diagnosis of the conflict one must be fully aware of the predisposition of the
Conflict is never quite what it
Interpersonal conflict is like...
­An iceberg
­Funny glasses
­A tornado
Conflict is like a tornado ­ it's very disorienting and disturbing.
Conflict Management ­HRM624
B. Disputants use one another's conduct to diagnose conflict. It leads to ever-widening errors of
perception and judgment by parties in conflict.
What Is The Other
Disputant Thinking?
Result: My beliefs
about his or her
My preconceived
notions and beliefs
about the conflict and
My observations of
the other disputant
during the conflict
The Seven Steps of Social Behavior
Developmental and basic psychological theories can provide a step by step model of conflict response.
Conflict is based on subjectivity and perception. Many opportunities for error exist in all social interactions.
Experience is greatly subjective (based on personal beliefs or feelings rather than facts). Hence interpersonal
conflict is subjective. Accordingly its understanding is difficult. That is why ADR is useful for
understanding conflict. Perceptual distortions are very important for ADR.
ADR depends upon perceptions of parties. Negotiation process actually addresses perception and brings
Seven Steps of Conflict Diagnosis
1. Social stimulus
2. Disputant receives
3. Stimulus
7. Disputant acts; new
stimulus created
4. Option generation
5. Weighing options
6. Disputant chooses
an option
Conflict Management ­HRM624
people closer in their views.
Seven steps to diagnose conflict
1. Social Stimulus
A stimulus is something in one's environment that stimulates a reaction.
A social stimulus is a stimulus emanating from another individual or from the social setting or situation.
Social stimuli can be verbal, nonverbal (e.g., body language) or contextual (e.g., where and when behavior
took place).
2. Disputant receives the social stimulus with his or her senses
Remember that receiving the stimulus is only the first part of perception ­ the other essential part is
interpretation. Stimulus reception can be prone to error.
3. Disputant interprets what he or she has seen/heard/sensed
What is it? It's the assigning of meaning to a received stimulus by the observer.
This is the second half of perception. This important half of perception often goes unrecognized ­
perception is often misunderstood as an "objective" rendering of a real-world event. But in reality,
perception can be very subjective. "Error" occurs during interpretation because virtually every received
stimulus has ambiguous components.
During interpersonal conflict, the disputants will tend to use one another's behavior to make guesses and
draw conclusions about one another's motivations and likely next moves. The stress of interpersonal
conflict worsens the tendency to make errors.
Specific sources of interpretational error:
a. Actor did not intend his or her actions.
b. Use of a heuristic. It is defined as mental shortcuts that facilitate the interpretational phase of perception
c. Negative heuristics that tend to be associated with escalated conflict.
d. Self-fulfilling-prophecy behavioral responses to application of a heuristic by the observer.
e. Application of heuristics is associated with high levels of stress and reduced mental and emotional
resources (as during conflict).
f. Influenced by individual contextual factors and motivational factors.
4. Disputant generates options for responding.
Option generation will be more or less abbreviated or detailed, depending on the importance of the
situation, the stress and arousal level of the observer, and the cognitive resources of the observer.
5. Disputant weighs the options.
If more than one option is generated, the observer will have to choose which action to take, and at some
level he or she will do this by weighing the costs and benefits of each.
Sources of cost-benefit assessments used in analysis:
Factors that influence weights given to options:
i. Factors that influence availability of mental resources ­ such as complexity, fatigue, emotional arousal
ii. Salience of particular issues in the present context
iii. Blueprints about interpersonal conflict and how it should be resolved
iv. Personal values assigned to the likely possible outcomes of the options (both positive and negative)
v. The weighing of options is often wholly or partially unconscious.
Conflict Management ­HRM624
6. Disputant chooses an action
Stable source is perceived self-efficacy whereas transient source include time limitations, cognitive overload,
and attention robbing factors.
7. Disputant acts, creating a new social stimulus.
1. Because of deficiencies in actual self-efficacy (proficiency), the action that occurs may not be the one
2. Proficiency is not a stable trait and it is impaired by stress.
3. Even proficiently executed tactics sometimes fail.
4. Due to errors in interpretation or judgment made by the disputant about the situation.
5. Due to mistaken beliefs about the effectiveness of various blueprints and their tools.
6. Due to changes in the situation.
7. Due to chance ­ the tactic may carry a known risk that was assumed by the actor.
8. Actions become social stimuli.
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