Overview of Negotiations and Conflict Resolution Principles

This webpage of Professor E. Wertheim, College of Business Administration, Northeastern University, provides an excellent overview of relevant concepts and suggestions for more effective negotiations, including the following:

"Pay particular attention to these generalizations:

Conflict is an ongoing process that occurs against a backdrop of continuing relationships and events;

Such conflict involves the thoughts, perceptions, memories, and emotions of the people involved; these must be considered.

Negotiations are like a chess match; have a strategy; anticipate how the other will respond; how strong is your position, and situation; how important is the issue; how important will it be to stick to a hardened position

Begin with a positive approach: Try to establish rapport and mutual trust before starting; try for a small concession early

Pay little attention to initial offers: these are points of departure; they tend to be extreme and idealistic; focus on the other person's interests and your own goals and principles, while you generate other possibilities"


"Keys to Integrative Bargaining

Orient yourself towards a win-win approach: your attitude going into negotiation plays a huge role in the outcome

Plan and have a concrete strategy...be clear on what is important to you and why it is important

Know your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Alternative)

Separate people from the problem

Focus on interests, not positions; consider the other party's situation:

Create Options for Mutual Gain:

Generate a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do

Aim for an outcome based on some objective standard

Pay a lot of attention to the flow of negotiation;

Take the Intangibles into account; communicate carefully

Use Active Listening Skills; rephrase, ask questions and then ask some more"


Coming At Conflict With Compassion

"To resolve conflict, no matter how exasperating the disagreement at hand, we should approach our adversary with an open heart laden with compassion. Judgments and blame must be cast aside and replaced with mutual respect. Conflict is frequently motivated by unspoken needs that are masked by confrontational attitudes or aggressive behavior. When we come at conflict with love and acceptance in our hearts, we empower ourselves to discover a means to attaining collective resolution...

Make a conscious effort to release any anger or resentment you feel...This can help you approach your disagreement rationally, with a steady voice and a willingness to compromise...

Examine your thoughts and feelings carefully. You may discover stubbornness within yourself that is causing resistance or that you are unwittingly feeding yourself negative messages about your adversary. As your part in disagreements becomes gradually more clear, each new conflict becomes another chance to further hone your empathy, compassion, and tolerance."

Read more in this DailyOM post.


Conflict Resolution in Ten Steps

Darren Rowse offers these 10 Steps to Conflict Resolution in the context of attempting to resolve disputes among bloggers. He notes that the points come out of a resource by the ‘Prepare/Enrich’ marriage counselling program and are designed for couples working through specific areas of conflict in an ongoing relationship. He contends, and I agree, they have more general application. The ten steps are:

"1. Set a time and place for discussion...
2. Define the problem or issue of disagreement...
3. How do you each contribute to the problem?...
4. List past attempts to resolve the issue that were not successful...
5. Brainstorm. List all possible solutions...
6. Discuss and evaluate these possible solutions...
7. Agree on one solution to try...
8. Agree on how each individual will work toward this solution...
9. Set up another meeting. Discuss your progress...
10. Reward each other as you each contribute toward the solution..."

Mediation is Good for Business

"Madison, Wisc.-based attorney, Terry Peppard, says that mediation, 'is now an exceptionally well-proven business process, and there should be no business executive anywhere in America who is not intimately familiar with the mediation process and its benefits.' Peppard, who recently published Arbitration and Mediation of Business Disputes says, 'You can't be a good executive if you don't know that this is out there and what it can do for you.' According to Peppard, there are several instances when mediation is the 'best way for a business to go.' These are when:

• It is important to maintain a valuable business relationship between the parties while still resolving the dispute.

• It is important for a client to avoid disclosure of confidential business data.

• It is important that the case be resolved as fast as possible to avoid disrupting business operations."

For more, including links to attorney Peppard's article and other related links and items, see this National Arbitration Forum Blog post.