Conflict Resolution Techniques

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conflict resolution techniques

Many articles and journals contain volumes of conflict resolution techniques. Essentially, most of them boil down to five basic approaches. These five approaches are described in an article by Glenn Starks, called "Managing Conflict in Public Organizations" (2007): collaborating, compromising, accommodating, competing, and avoiding. Each of the approaches carries pros and cons. However, the only conflict management approach that truly is set to foster an exchange of ideas and work toward the best result is collaboration.

While compromising comes in as a close second to collaboration, its premise is to agree on meeting in the middle. Claire White and Greta Thornbory also write about the five approaches to conflict management in their article, "How to…manage conflict and confrontation" (2007). In the article, they describe collaboration as a "lose-lose strategy, and the issue may need to be addressed again later" (White and Thornbory, 2007, 10).

The other three approaches do not foster deep thinking and do not encourage teams to exercise alternative thinking or develop a deeper understanding of the issues.

Avoiding dismisses the conflict altogether leaving the issue unresolved and the conflict essentially unmanaged. White and Greta point out "this can lead to the issue escalating and requiring greater effort in the future" (White and Thornbory, 2007, 7). The accommodation approach described by White and Greta as "agreeing to something just to keep the peace" (White and Thornbory, 2007, 8), has one or more team members not contributing to the result. Similar to accommodation, authoritarian allows one person to take control and dictate the resolution based solely on his or her power or position. This approach leaves the majority of the team feeling discontent and not included. White and Greta explain that this results in a team with "little listening, discussion, or information sharing" (White and Thornbory,