Monday, April 13, 2015

Making Conflict Work

Harvard Law
Peter Coleman, Columbia

Making Conflict Work ( book talk

Self assessment available at
30 minute set of questions

Not outcomes but patterns and relationships over time
Hierarchical power conflicts - over power differences
3 aspects of a situation in conflict: how important is this, are they with me or against me, are they more or less powerful than me (or equal) 

these interact to create 7 situations - compassionate responsibility, partnership, cooperative dependence, command and control, enemy territory, unhappy tolerance, independence 

basic mindsets:  benevolence, cooperation, support, dominance, competition, appeasement, autonomy
People tend to get stuck in the orientation which is most common in their experience

Strategies - pragmatic benevolence, collaboration, negotiated support, constructive dominance, 3 F (firm fair and friendly) competition, strategic appeasement, selective autonomy, adaptivity, revolution

Adaptivity, the ability to use different strategies, has better outcomes than sticking to one strategy
We tend not to adapt about a third of the time
However sometimes principled rebellion is necessary

1 - step 1 is to have a goal
3 - ask the 3 questions 
7 - seven conflict situations
7 - seven strategies
10 - ten tactics

Q: - the press of time?
Less consensual and cooperative under time constraints.  People move to their dominant response.

30-40% of management time is spent on managing interpersonal conflict

Q:  relationship between adaptivity and ability to change the situation?
Both and