Lecture 10 conflict resolution using a problem solving approach
1 / 26

Lecture 10 Conflict Resolution using a Problem-Solving approach - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on
  • Presentation posted in: General

Lecture 10 Conflict Resolution using a Problem-Solving approach . Dr. Paul Wong D.Psyc.(Clinical) E-mail: paulw@hku.hk Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (CSRP). Outline. Understand what is conflict; The causes of conflict; Common ways to solve conflicts; and

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.

Download Presentation

Lecture 10 Conflict Resolution using a Problem-Solving approach

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript

Lecture 10 Conflict Resolution using a Problem-Solving approach

Dr. Paul Wong D.Psyc.(Clinical)

E-mail: paulw@hku.hk

Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (CSRP)


  • Understand what is conflict;

  • The causes of conflict;

  • Common ways to solve conflicts; and

  • Learn effective problem solving technique.

True or False?

  • Listening is more important than talking when it comes to dealing with conflict.

  • Getting your point across is more important than hearing the other person’s issues.

  • As a general rule, a hostile person is not angry with you personally.

  • Conflict, if left alone, will resolve itself.

  • Compromise is always the best solution to resolving conflict.

True or False?

6. A really good manager can avoid conflict all together.

7. What is most important in resolving conflict is winning.

8. Interrupting is OK if you need to make an important point.

9. Yelling is OK because it helps emphasize your point.

10. The problem and the person are not the same thing.

Three perspectives of conflict

Traditional view

Conflict is dysfunctional, destructive and irrational. Usually caused by poor communication, a lack of trust, or a failure to be responsible to the needs of others.

“Human relations” view

Conflict is natural in groups and organizations. It may even be beneficial on occasion. Learn to live with it.

Inter-actionist view

Without conflict, we become static and non-responsive. Conflict keeps us viable and creative.

Sources of conflict

  • Communication barriers

  • Incompatible goals

  • Scarce resources

  • Personality

  • Unresolved conflicts

Conflict intensity continuum

Minor disagreements, misunderstanding

Overt questioning or challenging others

Aggressive verbal attacks

Threats and ultimatums

Aggressive physical attacks

Overt efforts to destroy the other party

5 common ways to deal with conflicts

  • Withdrawal (Avoidance)

  • Smoothing Over (Accommodation)

  • Forcing (Competition)

  • Bargaining (Compromise)

  • Problem Solving (Collaboration)

Guidelines when practicing collaborative problem-solving

  • Listen carefully

  • Paraphrase what you are hearing

  • Do not interrupt

  • Do not use absolutes like always, never

  • Do not jump to conclusions

  • Do not attack or name call

Guidelines when practicing collaborative problem-solving

  • Ask open ended questions

  • Watch for negative body language

    • Eye rolling

    • Crossing your arms

    • Agitated movements with feet and hands

    • Breathing hard

    • Looking away

Things to Remember

  • One person speaks at a time

  • Be respectful

  • Focus on the problem, not the person

  • Focus on interests, not positions

  • Listen, summarize, clarify

  • Either party can call for a break

Stages of Problem-solving

  • Define the problems

  • Brainstorm possible solutions

  • Evaluate the possibilities

  • Select a solution

  • Plan the solution

  • Implement the plan

1. Define the problems

  • Define the problem in terms of WANTS.

  • E.g., Problem: “My job is boring, I want to quit my job!”

  • Could mean: “I want to make my job much more interesting.”

  • If you are not sure how to define a problem, ask yourself “What do I really want from this situation?”

2. Brainstorm possible solutions

  • Try to come up as many solutions as possible – quantity is more important than quality in here.

  • * No evaluation or criticism at this stage, please.*

  • Put down the suggested solutions.

  • Be as CREATIVE as possible.

3. Evaluate the possibilities

  • By now, you should have a list of possible solutions;

  • Now, write down the pros and cons of each solution.

  • Then, put a “+” or “-” next to the solution.

  • “+” means “Yes, I’d be willing to try this solution”.

  • “-” means “No, I’d not be willing to try this solution.

4. Select a solution

  • Often by this stage an appropriate solution has become obvious.

  • More often than not, NO single solution is likely to be sufficient to cope with the problem.

  • E.g., I want to lose weight – by sensible eating, regular exercise, new method to cope with bad feelings etc.

  • If you find difficulties in choosing the solutions, you might consider to go back to step 1 simply because the problem was too big in the first place.

5. Plan the solution

  • This crucial step is often missed.

  • Ask yourself this lists of questions might help:

    • Who will do what?

    • Where?

    • By when?

    • What resources are needed?

    • From where will they be obtained?

    • How? And so on.

6. Implement the plan

  • Follow your plan through, one step at a time.

  • Congratulations if you solve one of your problems.

  • If not, accept your disappointment. Try again and back to step 1.


  • Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (2ndedition). Roger Fisher and William Urn, Bruce Patton. 1991. Penguin Books.

  • Win-Win Negotiating: Turning Conflict Into Agreement. John Wiley & Sons. 1985.

  • Your Perfect Right: A Guide Assertive Living. Robert Alberti, Michael Emmons. Impact Publishers. 1995

  • Coping With Difficult People. Robert Bramson. Ballantine Books. 1981


E.g. 1. Define the problem:

2. Brainstorm possible solutions

3. Evaluate the possibilities

4. Select a solution

5. Plan the solution

6. Implement the plan

  • Login