Managing Negotiation Conflicts

Managing Negotiation Conflicts

Managing Negotiation Conflicts 
Summer 2014, Asia Volume 5, Number 26

MANAGING CONFLICT IN NEGOTIATION
Avoid these Situations

Conflicts arise in negotiation when parties involved perceive their goals to be incompatible. To manage them, Managing Conflict by L. Greenhalgh that was printed in the Sloan Management Review provides a rubric that breaks down conflict into “Difficult to Resolve” and “Easy to resolve” depending on the dimension of conflict involved.

“Difficult to resolve” conflicts entail matter of “principle” conflicts that at the core of it lies differences in values and ethics. Large stakes involved thus suffer big consequences, zero sum interdependence and single transaction (meaning there is no past or future in these negotiations), all falling under conflicts that are difficult to resolve. Weak and disorganized parties, no presence of a neutral third party and an unbalanced perceived progress of the conflict (where one party feels more harm while the other wants to maintain control) are also deemed as leading to conflicts that are difficult to resolve.

WHEN ALL

ELSE FAILS

Of course it is not possible to avoid all sorts of conflict all the time. Five major conflict management strategies have been identified from the Dual Concerns model created by Dean Pruitt, Jeffrey Rubin and S.H Kim, authors of Social Conflict: Escalation, Stalemate and Settlement. They are contending (competing/dominating), yielding (accommodating/obliging), inaction (avoiding), problem solving (collaborating/integrating) and compromising.

The contending strategy, involving much intimidation, is used when you are pursuing your own outcomes strongly and have little concern for the other party. Yielding would be used at the other end of the spectrum, when your negotiation lies in making the other party happy. Inaction is most often used when resolving the conflict is of little use to the overall bigger picture. People choose to do nothing when there is little interest in both parties’ outcomes.

A compromising strategy is effective when parties are equally powerful and the goals of each party are mutually exclusive. It is also used when a more temporary solution to a complex problem is needed.

PROBLEM

SOLVING

Problem solving has been long touted as the most preferred approach to conflicts. Besides being the most versatile strategy, it also considers both parties’ outcomes as high priorities. Problem solving is best used in situations where issues are complex and the generation of ideas is needed to come up with better solutions. It is ideal if there is time set aside for this strategy and commitment is needed from both sides to resolve the issue- one party alone cannot solve the problem.

60 Seconds

is All it Takes
to Know a Little More
Quick Tip1

“Difficult to resolve” conflicts entail matter of “principle” conflicts that at the core of it lies differences in values and ethics.

Quick Tip2

Conflict management strategies include contending, yielding , inaction, problem solving and compromising.

Quick Tip3

Besides being the most versatile strategy, problem solving also considers both parties’ outcomes as high priorities.

Quick Tip4

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