Conflict resolution is a way for two or more parties to find a peaceful solution to a disagreement between them. Differences can be personal, financial, political or emotional. In the first phase, the mediator plays a passive role. The main task is to gain the trust and acceptance of the parties to the conflict so that they begin to believe that they will be able to help them as a person they can rely on at any time. An experienced mediator will have most discussions with the parties to the dispute, but will listen carefully and ask exploratory questions to determine the causes of the dispute, the obstacles to possible resolution, and the identification of issues in order of priority. Once credibility has been gained and basic knowledge is gained, the Ombudsman can begin to convince the parties to resume negotiations, possibly with a new perspective. The typical approach to dispute resolution through negotiation is that of position negotiations. We all know this approach: the opposing parties make demands (take a stand), then negotiate and negotiate until they reach an agreed compromise position, somewhere in the midst of their opposing demands – for example, the amount of money paid for the release of hostages. There will always be times when a trial will be the best option.
However, one of the other out-of-court dispute resolution procedures described in this brochure is often better served on. A better understanding of the thoughts that can help you choose the most appropriate method will help you manage your conflicts more successfully and resolve your differences more satisfactorily. Fisher and Ury said, “The reason you negotiate is to produce better than the results you can get without negotiating. What are these results? What is this alternative? What is your BATNA – your best alternative to a negotiated contract? That is the scale at which each proposed agreement should be measured. Fisher, R., Ury, W. (1981). Indeed, the agreement must be concluded without giving in. New York: Penguin Books. Most people are uncomfortable with conflict, but is the conflict always bad? Conflicts can be dysfunctional if they paralyze an organization, lead to less optimal performance or, in the worst case, violence in the workplace. Surprisingly, a moderate amount of conflict can actually be a healthy (and necessary) part of the life of the organization. Amason, A.C. Distinguishing the effects of functional and dysfunctional conflicts on strategic decision-making: solving a paradox for senior management teams.
Academy of Management Journal, 39, 123-48. To understand how we can reach a level of positive conflict, we need to understand the causes, consequences and tools to deal with it. The effects of too many or too few conflicts can affect performance. If the conflict is too low, the performance is low. If the conflict is too high, performance also tends to be low. The aim is to keep conflict zones in the middle of this area. While it may seem strange to want a certain level of conflict, an intermediate level of task-related conflict is often considered optimal, as it is a situation in which there is a healthy debate about ideas.