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Rick Olshak Associate Dean of Students, Illinois State University Chair, National Center for Higher Education Risk Management – Conflict Resolution (NCHERM-CR)

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Presentation on theme: "Rick Olshak Associate Dean of Students, Illinois State University Chair, National Center for Higher Education Risk Management – Conflict Resolution (NCHERM-CR)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Rick Olshak Associate Dean of Students, Illinois State University Chair, National Center for Higher Education Risk Management – Conflict Resolution (NCHERM-CR) Presented for the Central Illinois Volunteer Association All Rights Reserved (2013)

2 Presentation Outline The Universal nature of conflict The structure of conflict How we should view conflict How we should manage conflict 2

3 The Universal nature of conflict What emotions do you experience in conflict situations at work? At home? 3

4 The Universal nature of conflict What feelings/emotions do you experience in conflict situations at work? At home? Most people experience: AngerFearFrustration AnxietyHurtHelplessness ConfusionLossExcitement 4

5 The Universal nature of conflict What relationships of value will we experience at work? At home? Work: Co-workersSupervisorsSupervisees ClientsVendorsCustomers Support StaffRegulatorsManagement 5

6 The Universal nature of conflict What relationships of value will we experience at work? At home? Home: Partner/SpouseParentsChildren Other RelativesFriendsNeighbors CommunityService ProvidersSpiritual 6

7 The Universal nature of conflict Please note all of the relationships of value that will never experience conflict… EVERY relationship of value experiences conflict The most important relationships in our lives are those that also generate the most conflict What is important is to develop a better understanding of conflict, and how it impacts our lives both in the work place and at home 7

8 The structure of conflict Lets examine two perspectives on the structure of conflict: PIN Model of Conflict PAV Model of Conflict What we will finish this section with is an actual definition of conflict for use at work and at home 8

9 The structure of conflict The PIN Model of Conflict Positions Interests Needs 9

10 The structure of conflict The PIN Model of Conflict Positions (what we say we want) Interests (what we actually want) Needs (what we must have) 10

11 The structure of conflict The PAV Model of Conflict Perceptions Assumptions Values 11

12 The structure of conflict The PAV Model of Conflict Perceptions How we see the world and how we see the other party (influenced by our lens) 12

13 13

14 The structure of conflict The PAV Model of Conflict Assumptions Judgments we make about people based on our perceptions of them 14

15 The structure of conflict The PAV Model of Conflict Values Our core beliefs about the world 15

16 The structure of conflict The PAV Model of Conflict Perceptions Assumptions Values Which of these is not negotiable? VALUES Therefore, we need to… 16

17 The structure of conflict Defining Conflict CONFLICT is an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from others in achieving their goals. (Wilmot & Hocker) 17

18 Image 18 Ricks Conflict House versus Hawaii

19 Image 19 Does this conflict meet the definition? CONFLICT is an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from others in achieving their goals. (Wilmot & Hocker)

20 How we should view conflict 20

21 How we should view conflict 21

22 How we should view conflict 22

23 How we should view conflict Conflict is an inevitable part of every relationship of value Can be resolved so that both parties feel they have won and without the need for someone to lose. Conflict signals a need for change, evolution, and/or growth in a relationship Conflict can strengthen relationships rather than weaken them 23

24 Image 24 Conflict Styles

25 Image 25 Avoidance

26 Image 26 Avoidance Strategies: Ignoring the problem/conflict Denial of the problem/conflict Evasion of the problem/conflict Joking about the problem/conflict

27 Image 27 Avoidance When to Practice: When the issue or relationship is unimportant When there is no chance of a positive outcome When risks of confrontation outweigh benefits of resolution When other party has significantly greater power When one or more parties needs time to cool down When it is appropriate to let others resolve conflict

28 Image 28 Avoidance Disadvantages: Decisions made by default/without input Issues likely to remain unresolved Loss of influence in a situation or relationship Leads to self-doubt and loss of self-esteem May be unable to deal with conflicts in the future Demonstrates a lack of caring/investment

29 Image 29 Accommodation

30 Image 30 Accommodation Strategies: Giving in or giving up Denying ones own needs Placing harmony in the relationship over the issues in conflict

31 Image 31 Accommodation When to Practice: When one is wrong/other is right When there is a desire for harmony in the relationship When relationship is more important than the dispute When losses can be minimized When a party needs to save face When one wants leverage for future conflict

32 Image 32 Accommodation Disadvantages: Requires party to give something up Issues likely to remain unresolved Does not generate creative solutions Can cause frustration and/or resentment Creates a loss of influence in situation/relationship Can damage relationships Can foster competition over niceness

33 Image 33 Competition

34 Image 34 Competition Strategies: Hostile remarks or jokes Threats and/or coercion Denial of own responsibility Verbal arguments Physical altercations Covert actions

35 Image 35 Competition When to Practice: When immediate and decisive action is necessary When the style will be rewarded When there is no relationship of value When the issue is more important than the relationship Where a party needs to prove commitment/strength When total victory is desired When competing can bring parties together/make both better

36 Image 36 Competition Disadvantages: Strains/damages relationships Requires that one/both/all be losers in conflict Conflict may escalate Less likely to use constructive approaches later May encourage covert actions Can lead to stalemates Creates resentment and/or desire for revenge

37 Image 37 Compromise

38 Image 38 Compromise Strategies: Both parties give and take to find a middle ground Offer a short-term resolution for peace-keeping Appeals to fair play/fairness

39 Image 39 Compromise When to Practice: When a temporary solution is needed When parties are of equal power When parties wish to save time and energy When doing so seems fair to all parties

40 Image 40 Compromise Disadvantages: Often leaves underlying issues unresolved Issue may become a recurring problem Parties required to give something up One/both/all parties may not be completely satisfied Becomes an easy way out of creative conflict resolution Leads to position padding

41 Image 41 Collaboration

42 Image 42 Collaboration Strategies: Open and honest dialogue that is positive and constructive Willingness to listen to another view Emotions dealt with properly Seeking input from other party Willingness to accept responsibility for ones actions Giving ground without giving in (reason v. compromise)

43 Image 43 Collaboration When to Practice: When the relationship is important When a mutually satisfying outcome is sought When both views/sides are too important to compromise When underlying issues need to be addressed When one wants to avoid destructive means for handling conflict When new and creative solutions are desired

44 Image 44 Collaboration Disadvantages: Takes more time and energy Requires both parties to be committed to the process Makes a party appear unreasonable if he/she later decides against collaboration A collaborative party may appear weak to an aggressive party

45 Image 45 Ricks Conflict House versus Hawaii Lets try: Avoidance Accommodation Competition Compromise Collaboration

46 How we should manage conflict Keys to successful conflict management: Managing Conflict is a Choice Listen, Listen, Listen (SILENT = LISTEN) Show you are listening (Restate) Avoid Poisons (name calling, exaggerations, comparisons, etc.) Recognize power dynamics and know when to avoid, cool down, and/or involve appropriate third parties 46

47 How we should manage conflict Keys to successful conflict management: Deal with strong emotions in a constructive way Know when each conflict style will be beneficial Avoid Passive/Aggressive Behaviors Trust in yourself and the other person to resolve the conflict 47

48 Final Reflection / Homework One thing that I learned about conflict resolution today (or think differently now about) is… I am best at handling conflicts that concern… I am least effective at handling conflicts that concern… The most helpful skills I bring to conflict resolution are… My responses to conflict would be more effective if I… 48

49 For more information on this presentation or on conflict resolution, please contact me at or visit my website at This Power Point presentation is already posted to my website. 49


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