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					December 2003




                  Conflict
                   Applied Sciences
         Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta
Diane Rhyason, PhD
   Senior Manager – Lakeland
   College, Vermilion. 15 years.

   Associate Director, Legal
 Studies Program, Faculty of
 Extension, University of
 Alberta, Edmonton. Present.
This seminar is about...
   looking at the basis of conflict,
   primarily in the workplace
   looking   at your conflict style
   understanding what is
   happening in your workplace
This seminar is NOT about...
   formal  methods such as mediation
   and negotiation
   creating „mediators‟
   finding the „best‟ way to deal with
   conflict
                There is no best way.
Conflict
  A. Definitions
  B. Examples
  C. Interpretations
  D. Sources
A. Definitions
   no shortage of definitions
   “a process that begins when one party
    perceives that another party has negatively
    affected, or is about to negatively affect,
    something that the first party cares about.”
   a conflict exists whenever incompatible
    activities occur … one party is interfering,
    disrupting, obstructing, or in some other way
    making another party‟s actions less effective.
             (Deutsch, 1973).
Definitions (cont.)
      Conflict is the interaction of interdependent
       people who perceive incompatible goals
       and interference from each other in
       achieving those goals.
           (Folger, Poole, Stutman 1997).
B. Examples of Conflict
C. Interpretations

  Conflict is…
       perceived differently by different
        people
       often perceived as bad
       “eliminate conflict in the workplace”
       “eliminate conflict from your daily life”
D. Sources of Conflict
   Most conflicts arise out of feelings
   of intense personal frustration and
   a belief that things are happening
   which are simply unfair.
Several things often combine to create
contention:
   Our natural need to want to explain our
    side first. After all, we reason, if they
    understand our perspective, they will come
    to the same conclusions we did.
   Our ineffectiveness as listeners. Listening
    is much more than being quiet so we can
    have our turn. It involves a real effort to
    understand another person‟s perspective.
   Our fear. Fear that we will not get our way,
    fear of losing something we cherish, fear
    we will be made to look foolish or lose
    face, fear of the truth … that we may be
    wrong.
   Our assumption that one of us has to
    lose if the other is going to win.
    Assumption that differences can only be
    solved competitively.
Conflict Management Skills, University of California
Other Conflict-Provoking
Behaviours
   Person-centered comments and
   criticism
   Past-centered comments
   Guilt-induction attempts
   Blaming comments
   Inappropriate reassurance and
   positive thinking
Unsolicited advice/commands
Lengthy attempts at persuasion
Defensiveness-causing questions
Extended attempts to win
Mistrust statements
Overstatements and over-
generalizations
Infallibility comments (and qualification
comments)
Histrionic behaviour (overdramatization)
 Use of hot phrases and words
 Words or phrases that suggest
 disinterest
 Phrases that blame or imply blame or
 suggest ignorance
 Phrases that have a threatening
 undertone
 Phrases that challenge or dare
 Use of code words and innuendo
Work911: Conflict Prevention
Conflict is about
  Power     Place
  Person    Process
Conflict is about...
Power
        Definitions
        Types of power in the
        workplace
Power is...
    “The capacity that someone has to
    influence the behaviour of someone
    else, so that person will act in
    accordance with the wishes of the first
    person”
    “vested” authority, or “entrusted”
    authority
Three types of power...
   (from “Truth or Dare”)

         Power-over

         Power-within

         Power-with
Five types of power...
   (French & Raven)

  1. Coercive: power based on fear


  2. Reward: power that achieves
   compliance based on the ability to distribute
   rewards that others view as valuable
3. Legitimate: the power a person
receives as a result of his or her position in
the formal hierarchy of an organization


4. Expert: the influence a person has
based on special skills or knowledge


5. Referent: the influence a person has
based on possession of desirable resources
or personal traits
Conflict is about...
Person
  about reactions on a personal,
  emotional level
  personal style - self-assessments
  identifying the styles of others
Common Reactions to
Conflict
        Anger
        Hostility
        Avoidance
        Hurt
Why is the reaction emotional?
People’s behaviour occurs for a
 purpose. They are looking for ways to
 belong, feel significant, and self-protect.
 When people perceive a threat for their
 self-esteem, a downward spiral can
 begin. People can be led into obstructive
 behaviours in the faulty belief that this will
 gain them a place of significance.
      How we respond
to their difficult behaviours
     can determine how
      entrenched those
    behaviours become.
Personal Styles
 Are you right
or left-brained?
Are you a Theory X
   or Theory Y?
Are you someone
     who… ?
Testing your „style‟...
Identifying the styles of
         others…
 the “Crazymakers” ...
Conflict is about...
Place
  The environment in your workplace
  The culture of your workplace
  The culture of your department
  Organizations are „messy‟, complex
  and contradictory things
  Using metaphor to understand your
  workplace
Metaphors for the Workplace...
 The use of metaphor is basic to human
 communication. We use metaphor for
 “sense-making” or “framing”.
 Humans create meaning by using one
 element of their experience to
 understand another.
We are readily able to use the
similarities of the metaphor and
ignore the differences.
Metaphor helps us to express
difficult ideas.
Conflict is about...
Process
   Common approaches to conflict
    resolution
   Reframing the conflict
   Disarming „tools‟
   Capitalizing on your style
Common Approaches
 competing/confronting: a desire to
 satisfy one‟s interests, regardless of the
 impact on the other party to the conflict

 collaborating: a situation where the
 parties to a conflict each desire to
 satisfy fully the concerns of all parties
avoiding: the desire to withdraw from
or suppress a conflict
accommodating: the willingness of one
party in a conflict to place the
opponent‟s interests above his or her
own
compromising: a situation in which
each party to a conflict is willing to give
up something
  Conflict resolution skills
Handout
Reframing and mapping the
conflict...
  “Framing” is the process of making
  meaning about something by simplifying
  it. “Chunking” it.
  “Framing helps us understand why
  conflict exists, what actions are of
  importance to the conflict, why the parties
  act as they do, and how we should act in
  response.” (Gray, 2003)
It is important to identify your own frame
as well as those of others in the conflict.
“Reframing”, then, simply means
consciously moving the conflict from
one approach to another
   e.g. from win-lose to win-win; from
    domination to compromise.
“Mapping” is a systematic way to
“chunk” the conflict down and determine
the scope of the issues.
“Scope” includes...
    identifying all the parties
    identifying all the issues
    identifying all the options that are available
    for the opponents
    identifying the history
    ensuring that critical information is available
    clarifying expectations
    identifying hidden assumptions
    identifying opportunities for learning
About Learning...
 Robert Kyosaki, in his “Money and You”
   workshop, often relates the very telling story
   of IBM in the United States:
  One middle executive there made a tactical
   error that cost the company $9 million. The
   following week he was called to the office of
   the Chairman, sure he was about to be fired.
   The Chairman started discussing plans for a
   huge new project that he wanted the
   executive to direct.
After a certain point, the executive was
  feeling so uncomfortable that he had to
  stop the Chairman: “Excuse me sir, you
  know I‟m amazed. Last week I cost us $9
  million. Why are you putting me in charge
  of this new project? I thought you were
  going to fire me.”
The Chairman smiled. “Fire you? Young
  man, I‟ve just invested $9 million in
  educating you. You’re now one of my
  most valuable assets.”
Here was a Chairman who valued the
 willingness to risk and learn. He knew
 it was an essential ingredient in the
 successful executive.

Life is not about winning and losing - it’s
  about learning. When you fall down,
  you pick yourself up and note where the
  pot-hole was so you can walk around it
  the next time.
A person who has gone “too far”
 knows just how far they can go.

    No winners and losers,
 just “winners and learners”.
  Learning Conversations
Every conversation is three
conversations
The “what happened” conversation
The “feelings” conversation
The “identity” conversation
       What happened?
Assume it is factual matter
Assume their view is right
Assume that they understand intentions
Leap from impact to intent
Shift from certainty to curiosity
Map
     Five Step Approach
An initial meeting to explain the
approach
Fact finding, mapping
Meet with each person separately
Call a joint meeting
Get help!
       DESC Method
Describe/map
Express
Specify
Consequences
“Disarming” tools...
Managing the emotions
of others
 People shout because they don’t think
  they are being heard. Make sure they
  know they are - that you are hearing
  how angry or upset they are. Label
  accurately the emotions/feelings as
  you perceive them.
Keep on reflecting back as accurately
 as you can until they come down
 from the high emotion. If you are
 doing it right, they will explain
 everything in some detail, but as
 the interchange continues the heat
 should be going out of the
 conversation.
Managing your own emotions
DON’T…
    act defensive
    defend yourself at this point. It will inflame
     them further.
    rise to the bait, and retaliate

    justify

    use inflaming language

    indulge them

    deny that there is a problem

    ignore or deny their feelings
Responding to resistance from
others
  When faced with a statement that
  has potential to create conflict, ask
  open questions to reframe resistance.
  Explore the difficulties and then re-
  direct discussion to focus on positive
  possibilities.
           Clarify Details
It‟s too expensive   Compared to what?

Too many / much /    Compared to what?
little / few

I want the best.     What would be best
                      for you?
             Find options
You can‟t do that   What would happen if we
around here           did?
He(she) would       How can we find ways for
never…                it to happen?
They always…        Are there times they don’t?
                    What was the outcome?
We‟ve tried that
already.            What else could we
This is the only     consider?
way to do it.
Redirect - move to the positive
It will never      What would it take to make it
work                 work?
I won‟t…           What would make you willing?
It‟s a failure.    How could it work?
It‟s disastrous.   What would make it better?
He (she) is        What is he (she) doing that is
useless.             acceptable?
I can‟t.           You can‟t see a way to do it at
                     the moment?
I don‟t want to.   What would you like?
 Go back to legitimate needs
       and concerns
He (she) is a       It‟s hard to see how to work
hopeless case!         with him (her)?
You fool! (and      What do we need to do to
other insults)         sort this out?
How dare you do     What do you dislike about it?
such a thing!
It should be done   What makes that seem the
my way.              best option?
  His/her place is a   He/she puts a different
  pig‟s sty!            emphasis on tidiness
                        than you?


  He/she doesn‟t do    Where do you think
  their fair share.     his/her priorities may
                        lie?



     GRRIT: Graduated
Reciprocal Reduction in Tension
             Letting go
Sometimes difficult issues should be
raised; other times it is best to let them
go
Now simple rule for deciding
Do some mapping first
If you let go, remember..
 You are not solely responsible for fixing
 The most you can do is your best
            Letting go…
 The other party has limitations too
 Separate the issue from your identity

 You can let go, but still care about the
  issue
Capitalizing on your style...

 Broaden your options….
December 2003




                  Conflict

                   Applied Sciences
         Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta

				
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