Conflict Resolution: Assess the cause of conflict in organizational settings and apply strategies to manage conflict in diverse environments

Some may not think that the peacemaking tools works well, because not everyone is open to resolution, and also, after the session, the parties must go back to working together and tension and awkwardness may exist. This is true. However, when people are placed in a safe and secure environment, they naturally seek out their capacity for goodness. Even the most cynical, hardened business people have recognized the importance of relationships when they are invited and allowed to do so. We don’t see this side of people often only because they are not given the space, safety and security to express their anger, their true concerns and their interests. Furthermore, they are not placed in a position where they can honestly listen and hear the perspectives of others. Once the fear of vulnerability is neutralized, people can aspire to their higher good and really find excellent solutions to their conflicts.

To me, managing conflict and peacemaking are very different. Conflict management and even conflict resolution is just that, managing the conflict enough so two parties tolerate each other and the current situation. Peacemaking concerns a deeper way of looking at conflicts. It looks at conflicts as opportunities for people to grow, to accept responsibility for the relationships they are in, and for the potential of apology and forgiveness.

One tool I’ve used over the years when mediating (peacemaking) between employees is START, STOP, KEEP.  This activity is designed to bring the parties together through dialogue and collaboration. First the parties discuss what may not be working currently and brainstorm about what they might put in place (start) to make a positive change. For example, let’s say one party doesn’t like being reprimanded in front of others and suggests the other party START to meet with him privately to discuss an issue. Next, they both discuss what each needs to absolutely STOP doing. Whatever is just not working, is not productive, is offensive, etc.  Finally, they move to KEEP which requires them to talk about what they like about the working relationship and what aspects they want to KEEP. This ends the session on a positive note and hopefully, each party has grown a little morally and they have learned from each other.

Negotiation is a collaborative tool used to enter into a dialogue regarding a conflict/disagreement to find a mutually beneficial solution. Some successful techniques for negotiation, I feel are also fitting for avoiding and resolving conflict in an organization. The following guidelines are from Ronny Ross (Goodreau, J. 2012 p. 1):

  1. Keep the discussion results oriented
  2. Be wise, not smart
  3. Put your concerns on the table
  4. Avoid “I” statements
  5. Engage with your body language

These points help cultivate collaboration in the following ways:

  1. By keeping the emphasis of the negotiations on the facts versus the people, the “personal” aspect is removed and both parties are more comfortable and not as easily offended. This sets a solid foundation for moving forward. Also, focusing on the “best deal for both parties” is a win/win focus, versus a win/lose focus… where one party will feel negatively.
  2. Use your wisdom to show respect and understanding for the other party. You want to create a safe environment that will cultivate mutual respect and cooperation; not negative feelings.  “Frame around common interests” to establish common ground and begin to build the relationship. This can only help the negotiation.
  3. Be honest and voice your issues, if the other party wants to work with you, he/she will help you address those issues. If you are honest, chances are, the other party will be honest as well.
  4. Avoid “I” statements as this is one-sided. Use “we” statements to create a feeling of team and team work.
  5. Engage fully with your body language to show that you are interested and enthusiastic to arrive at a mutually beneficial decision. If you are not engaged, the energy of the process will be affected negatively and the other party may not feel you are serious.

If we can remember to enter into dialogue and collaboration with the above tips in mind, we 1) can better avoid conflict in the first place and 2) have tools to employ when conflict arises and needs to be addressed.

Goudreau, J. (2013). The Secret art of negotiation: Take your ego off the table. Forbes. Retrieved from:

Buell, B. (2007, January 15). Negotiation Strategy: Seven common pitfalls to avoid. Stanford Business. Retrieved from:

Knoll, D. (2015). What is Peacemaking? Retrieved from:

Collaboration, assignment two. We were to collaborate as a group and develop a conflict resolution strategy for a current situation. We were to incorporate the topics of: collaboration, global and/or interpersonal conflict resolution, groupthink, cultural elements, global perspectives, interpersonal communication, power and privilege, negotiation, and media influence in our strategy and discuss the cause and effect of the conflict, the stakeholders, your recommended solutions and WHY the solution would work to resolve the conflict.


The paper included recommendations and a suggested model for beginning a collaborative solutions process that is designed to gather law enforcement and civilians in communities around the country in a comprehensive effort to neutralize the growing hatred and rebuild a sense of trust and mutual respect. We utilized the overall concept of Interactive Problem Solving and designed a plan with the following components:

  • Training
  • Dialogue
  • Non violence education
  • Joint Project approaches

The model we designed can be used in any region as a means for all parties to stabilize and strengthen the cross cultural bonds that have become fragmented.  We felt that by creating an environment of unity, work could then be done to reveal the core of humanity that has been hidden under layers and years of distrust. The idea was to center the focus of the two groups on the common good and to strive for a renewed relationship, for the sake of our country.

Professionally-It’s amazing how the materials I study in this program are applied in my professional world. In one of our staff retreats we learned about effective collaboration, self-talk and self-regulation as it relates to collaboration, and the personal ownership involved in effective collaboration. It was such a great learning session and having internalized what I have discovered in my collaboration course studies, I was able to contribute at a very high level and create meaningful dialogue among the staff about how we do well and not so well when we collaborate. It’s a great feeling of adding value to the team when I can contribute to helping with knowledge and growth.

Personally-I am becoming self aware. I have realized that I tend to default to particular conflict resolution styles that are not very collaborative. I realized I do this because of acculturation and what I was shown as a child growing up; my parents handled conflict in a very combative way. My new awareness gives me the opportunity to change and with the new knowledge of better styles and strategies, I can practice tips and techniques (ladder of inference) to become more collaborative in my conflict resolution.

Change in me as a person- Knowledge of the collaborative process and strategies for effectiveness (compassionate communication, ownership of the process, self-regulation, defining roles, creating a plan….) helps me to work with my classmates, co workers and loved ones in a way that is better (active listening) and more productive (conflict resolution or using conflict as a positive). I am becoming a better communicator and a much better collaborator. My active listening has improved and although difficult, refraining from jumping to conclusions and going into situations with assumptions is getting better. I reference the ladder of inference quite often and the components of a collaborative “tri-sector” leader. Both are helpful tools to remind me to be the best I can be.

Why the world needs tri-sector leaders:

The Ladder of Inference: