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Katherine A. Rhoades, Dean College of Education and Human Sciences University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Sarah Williams Jacobson, Professor emerita North Dakota State University. Conflict Resolution…or Do We Mean Management? . Mehitabel , Girl Pioneer, . and her faithful horse . What?

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conflict resolution or do we mean management

Katherine A. Rhoades, Dean

College of Education and Human Sciences

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Sarah Williams Jacobson, Professor emerita

North Dakota State University

Conflict Resolution…or Do We Mean Management? 

mehitabel girl pioneer
Mehitabel, Girl Pioneer,

and her faithful horse

slide5

An interactive session about conflict and its management in the academy

Brief conceptual introduction

Completion and discussion of the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument

Participatory exploration of a model of conflict management strategies

Opportunity to analyze and discuss case studies

conflict is

As common as the air we breathe

A verb meaning “striking together” 

A noun meaning “a fight, battle, or struggle”

“…A situation in which interdependent people express (manifest or latent) differences in satisfying their individual needs and interests, and they experience interference from each other in accomplishing these goals”

 Conflict Is

Donohue and Kirk quoted in Holton, Susan A., ed., Conflict Management in Higher Education, p. 5, (1995) Jossey-Bass Publishers.

conflict myths and illusions

Conflict is destructive.

Conflict should be avoided.

Conflict is a personality problem.

Deans create the most conflict for department chairs.

The conflict chairs experience is no different than any other administrator in education or industry.

There is only one right way to handle conflict.

Conflict Myths and Illusions

From W.H. Gmelch, “The Janus Syndrome: Managing Conflict from the Middle,” in Mending the Cracks in the Ivory Tower: Strategies for Conflict Management in Higher Education, S.A. Horton, ed., (1998), Anker Publishing

slide10

Focusing on the facts

Considering multiple alternatives

Creating common goals.

Cultivating a culture of openness and fairness

Using humor

We need productive ways to utilize conflict as momentum for change by:

Click above box to view video clip of herding cats

assumptions about the nature of conflict and its effects
Assumptions About the Nature of Conflict and Its Effects
  • A negative unitary view
  • A positive pluralist view
  • A radical view
slide14

Conflict Resolution Strategies

9

Focus on

relationship

Compromise

1

Focus on task

1

9

5 strategies for dealing with conflict
5 Strategies for Dealing with Conflict
  • Avoid (I lose/you lose)
  • Accommodate (I lose/you win)
  • Compete (I win/you lose)
  • Compromise (I win a little/you win a little)
  • Collaborate (I win/you win)
factors affecting the choice of a strategy
Factors Affecting the Choice of a Strategy
  • Nature and value of the relationship
  • Importance and complexity of the issue(s)
  • Relative power
  • Time
drawbacks to an avoidance strategy
Drawbacks to an Avoidance Strategy
  • The situation may not “go away” and may escalate
  • You may lose respect of those who expect you to engage
  • You lose the opportunity to understand the other person(s) perhaps deeper feelings and issues
  • You don’t get what you need or might have negotiated for yourself
accommodate when
Accommodate – When?
  • The issues and possible solutions are less important than maintaining good will
  • To signal concern for the other – may put a favor “in the bank” – when you have greater power
  • To cut your losses when you lack power or leverage
  • When dealing with people who are violent, discontented, and can cause much damage
drawbacks to an accommodating strategy
Drawbacks to an Accommodating Strategy
  • Competitive people may take advantage of you – a temporary fix leading to escalation
  • You may set a precedent that results in your being overworked, overlooked and/or perceived as a “wimp”
  • You may bend too quickly before you understand the situation clearly
compete when
Compete – When?
  • Important issues are at stake – you know you are right
  • You don’t need the cooperation or good will of the other party in the future – you don’t care what they think or how they feel
  • You are negotiating with another person who is competitive
  • You want to look tough & competent in front of an audience or constituency
  • You have sufficient power to carry it off
drawbacks to a competing strategy
Drawbacks to a Competing Strategy
  • You may not have the best solution – may stifle contribution and commitment
  • You may alienate key people that you need down the road
  • “What goes around comes around”
compromise when
Compromise – When?
  • Stalemate: goals are opposite and power is equal
  • When other approaches don’t work
  • Not enough time or importance to mount a full fledged collaborative effort
  • Parties have similar ideas about what constitutes fairness of procedure and outcome
drawbacks to a compromise strategy
Drawbacks to a Compromise Strategy
  • Its short term focus means you may lose sight of principles, own needs, and long term objectives
  • Creates precedents that may be damaging in later situations
  • Sweeps the conflict under the rug but avoids finding out what it is really all about
collaborate when
Collaborate – When?
  • Cooperation of all will be needed to carry out the decisions
  • Deeply felt concerns, divergent perspectives, people unwilling to compromise
  • Those involved need to learn more about the issues and options
when to collaborate cont d
When To Collaborate (Cont’d.)
  • Emotions are running high or a relationship has been damaged but all are committed to finding a solution and are interdependent
  • A decision will have far reaching consequences
  • A workable solution is not evident – creativity and synthesis are needed
  • Time and attention are available
  • You want to offer practice in the technique
drawbacks to collaboration
Drawbacks to Collaboration
  • It takes time, energy, effort, commitment from all sides
  • Decisions are slow – meetings are soggy
  • Disagreements about, and impatience with, process can derail focus on content and end result
  • If the environment is highly polarized it may be very difficult to implement
factors affecting the choice of a strategy27
Factors Affecting the Choice of a Strategy
  • Nature and value of the relationship
  • Importance and complexity of the issue(s)
  • Relative power
  • Time
5 strategies for dealing with conflict28
5 Strategies for Dealing with Conflict
  • Avoid (I lose/you lose)
  • Accommodate (I lose/you win)
  • Compete (I win/you lose)
  • Compromise (I win a little/you win a little)
  • Collaborate (I win/you win)