Collaborative Approaches to Resolving Conflict
IN THIS SUMMARY
Conflict is intrinsic to daily modern life an inescapable part of family, organizational, and societal dynamics. However, the increase of violence in families, schools, communities, and workplaces, and the rapid increase in litigation, suggests that society is not managing conflict very well. Because of a growing awareness that how a society addresses this issue powerfully affects relationships, business success, and the quality of life, a movement toward constructive problem solving has emerged and is gaining ground. According to Isenhart and Spangle, this movement, away from conflict resolution via judicial processes toward strategic partnerships that advance objectives more effectively, is fast becoming the norm, paralleling the national and global trend toward teamwork and collaborative approaches.In response to this increasing awareness, they present Collaborative Approaches to Resolving Conflict as a review of the theoretical body of knowledge about the field, as well as an overview of the wide variety of available methods for managing or resolving conflict. The authors premise is that when we use "a collaborative approach to resolve conflict, we attempt to create conditions that prevent the escalation of conflict, reduce the destructive aspects of conflict, and create a working climate that preserves relationships." Thus, their focus is on preserving relationships by resolving problems effectively before they become a "full court press."With this focus, organizations and community groups can save time, money, and foster long-term win-win relationships. Employees are provided a conceptual framework for understanding the dynamics and, also, an analysis of current practice for understanding the professional challenges of the discipline. HR professionals will find practical guidelines for selecting the appropriate methods for dealing with specific types of conflicts in the workplace. And, organizations that wish to include conflict management skills training in leadership and development packages, will discover alternatives for managing conflict and the skills necessary to resolve it.