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Conflict Resolution

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James Williams

on 13 September 2015

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Transcript of Conflict Resolution


“Being in conflict is no fun. It’s stressful, unpleasant, distracting, intrusive and annoying” (Daniel Dana, 2) The personal effects of Conflict are extensive, however the losses to productivity are equally substantial. The simple costs to provide external conflict resolution and the losses in productivity, sometimes up to 42% of employees’ time is wasted on resolving conflict (Daniel Dana 2.1)

An effective conflict resolution process is essential to ensure worker efficiency and happiness in the workplace, a by product of this being a reduction in employee separation rate and in turn a reduction in recruiting costs. A four step process to conflict resolution implemented by employers can avoid the sometimes crippling effects of Conflict Resolution.

Communication / Clarification
Conflict exists when one or more people disagree about something and the matter remains unresolved. A fair balanced resolution process is important for the effective operation of any workplace

Resolution is defined as :

Problems are solved and healthy working relationships are maintained
(Fairwork Australia Ombudsman 2013)
Mediation - How can we resolve it?
Mediation has had an expansive history, but has taken a boom recently due to its effectiveness and a growing understanding of its application.
Barsky, A (2014, p. 9) describes a mediator as a third party who assists interested parties in negotiating a conflict. Barsky also claims that there is no universally accepted explication of mediation as it has changed consistenly across time, culture and contexts.
Thankfully trusted professionals such as Beer, J (2012, p.36) have explained mediation under 6 vital categories, which give it a clear shape.
Resolution / Closure
Through mediation one of two results occur;

1) No acceptable resolution is found.

2) A mutually agreeable resolution is found.

As a group comes together, it is reasonable for a degree of conflict to develop at some point, as an individual’s personality, word ethic, work style and commitment to the group all factor into its success. These factors can conflict with other individuals, eventually evolving into conflict that needs to be addressed.

Let's fix it!
How can we resolve it?
Conflict Resolution
Group Four
It may vary drastically between each mediation, but there is a step-by-step process.

It is the mediators role to remain impartial and practice a certain amount of detachment, in order to control the situation and lead the parties to a conclusion. Note: it is up to the parties to find a solution
These are the two opposing sides of the argument at hand. This could be two individuals, or two whole nations
This is the way in which both arguments are expressed. Although not always 'neat' or 'rational'
Jointly resolved concerns
A solution agreed by both parties based on their priorities of emotional, social, and practical needs.
What is the problem?
Mediation is necessary when two parties are unable to agree on a matter they hold very seriously.
Let's talk about it
First Interactions;

One person must initiate
Neutral non-threatening environment
Use polite language
Don't attribute blame
Promote Discussion
Neutral Observer

Effective communication and discussion of existing conflict between parties when resolving conflict is necessary to achieve an outcome with which everyone is satisfied. Typically, discussion is required when tension goes unresolved. The most successful groups involved in conflict will be able to recognise any behaviours deemed unreasonable or creating tension “for what they are and see them as a symptom of somebody's unmet personal needs, and to constructively deal with them” (Jacques & Salmon, 2012, pp. 12-25).
As recommended by Kyle, L & Jackson, K of the Victoria Law Association (2009), there are several questions all parties involved must ask themselves in order for a dispute to be successfully resolved;

- Will I negotiate?
- Do I know what I want?
- Have I assessed my argument?
- Will I compromise?

Kyle, L & Jackson, K also suggest that expressing emotions when discussion a dispute is an important part of finding a resolution, however it is imperative these feelings are not expressed with violence, aggressiveness or a loud voice, as this may intimidate other parties involved.
Define the Conflict
Ideological- Opposing views
Social - Don't get along
Structural- Leadership

(Team Publications 2002)
Now we must identify the Critical factors that are involved in the conflict to identify the best course of action to take.


Two individuals interacting in the workplace. ie with opposing ideas

More than two members invested in the conflict, requiring a more complex solution
Critical Urgency

Does the conflict require immediate attention to prevent a potentially dangerous situation
Communication Channels

What method of resolution is required? Is an interdependent mediator suitable or has the situation degraded where an arbitrator required?
Daniel Dana 2001
Reference List
Dana, D 2001, Conflict Resolution, McGraw-Hill Professional Book Group, New York

Fairwork Australia Ombudsman 2013, Best Practice Guide; Effective Dispute resolution, Australian Government, guide

Team Publications 2002, Conflict Resolution, HRD Press, Amherst, Mass.

Jacques, D & Salmon, G 2012, Chapter 2: Studies of group behaviour, pg. 12-25, retrieved 5/9/15

Kyle, L & Jackson, K 2009, Assessing your dispute: Will you negotiate?, page 9, Victoria Law Association, retrieved 4/9/15 <https://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/field_video_transcript/mediation_publication_working_it_out.pdf>

National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council 2010,
, retrieved 5/9/15 <http://www.ag.gov.au/LegalSystem/AlternateDisputeResolution/Documents/NADRAC%20Publications/A%20Toolkit%20for%20Developing%20a%20Dispute%20Management%20Plan.pdf>

National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council 2012,
Your Guide to Dispute Resolution
, retrieved 5/9/15 <http://www.ag.gov.au/LegalSystem/AlternateDisputeResolution/Documents/NADRAC%20Publications/your-guide-to-dispute-resolution.pdf>

Barsky, A 2014, Conflict Resolution for the Helping Professions, Oxford University Press

Beer, JE 2012, The Mediator's Handbook: Revised and Expanded Fourth Edition, new Society Publishers
Career Intelligence, http://career-intelligence.com/conflict-resolution-zip/,2015
Conflict Resolution Services 2015, http://www.conflictresolution.colostate.edu/conflict-resolution
Teaching Strategies for Classroom Discipline 2013, http://www.teaching-strategies-for-classroom-discipline.com/conflict-resolution-activities.html
Negotiation Law Blog 2015, http://www.negotiationlawblog.com/mediation/collaboration/
Reach Summit Consulting 2013, http://reachsummitconsulting.com/consulting-services/conflict-resolution/
David Cockerton 2013, http://davidcockerton.com/tag/adr/
Learn Me 2015, http://learnme.edu.au/products/conflict-resolution-dealing-with-difficult-people
Grosse Point Unitarian Church 2015, http://www.gpuc.us/news/latest/assertiveness-conflict-resolution-adult-forum-sunday-nov-16-noon
Emilie Cocquerel, Peter Fox, Riley Hodgetts, James Williams
In the first case two options are possible;

1) The conflict continues.

2) A higher authority or arbitrator decides on a resolution to implement.

In the second case the resolution is implemented.

Possible Outcomes
If the conflict remains unresolved and continues, further rounds of mediation continue until such a time as the parties agree to either accept a third party decision or come to a mutually agreeable resolution(Fairwork Australia Ombudsman, 2013)
Implementing the Resolution
Once the parties have accepted a resolution, implementation is the next step. There must be safeguards to monitor that the parties honour and continue to be satisfied with the resolution (National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council, 2010, p19).
Examples of such checks are;

1) Regular review.
2) Renegotiation.
3) Third party monitoring.

The first two examples allow the involved parties to meet, with or without a mediator and decide how well the resolution is working and potentially to change it to suit the changed situation.

The third example involves an authorized third party monitoring the implementation and independently ensures that all parties are fulfilling their obligations.

Ultimately all parties are equally responsible for any deviation from or success of the resolution.
The key to any form of conflict resolution is communication. Conflict resolution requires that all parties acknowledge the dispute and are willing to discuss it openly. They must then be willing to negotiate or be willing to allow a mediator/arbitrator to guide them towards a mutually acceptable resolution. Once an acceptable resolution is decided upon the parties involved must be willing to ‘stick to it’, ideally the implementation of the resolution includes checks and measures, be they internal or external, that allow the parties to resolve any further issues that arise in the changed environment (National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council, 2012)
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