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September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 1 How Caring Causes Conflict Jim Bryant The Strategy Studio and Sheffield Hallam & Warwick Universities.

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Presentation on theme: "September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 1 How Caring Causes Conflict Jim Bryant The Strategy Studio and Sheffield Hallam & Warwick Universities."— Presentation transcript:

1 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 1 How Caring Causes Conflict Jim Bryant The Strategy Studio and Sheffield Hallam & Warwick Universities

2 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 2 How Caring Causes Conflict Conflict-free interaction? People’s ‘stands’ Dilemmas of confrontation Handling dilemmas Dilemmas of collaboration From conflict to co-operation An example

3 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 3 Is conflict is both inevitable and healthy? Conflict signifies the commitment of parties to a view about how things should be. From this perspective, conflict is not only an inevitable feature of any human society, but its presence is a healthy sign of passionate confrontation. This paper will explore the tensions that encourage conflict in collaboration

4 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 4 Confronting Complexity Kurt Richardson & Andrew Tait, Emergence, 2008 Introduces Confrontation Management as a tool for modelling and analysis of, and planning within, complex social systems. Takes the view that people interact with others to change their intentions in some way Even when objectives are perfectly aligned, the potential for divergence creates a shadow confrontation Peoples’ behaviour is defined by what they believe others will do – not by what others claim they will do

5 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 5Positions A character's POSITION is its ‘solution’ to the situation In communicating its Position a character states what it demands from others and what it proposes to do itself if they meet its demands. Its Position depends upon a character’s interests and objectives. The Position represents a ‘package’ of actions: what is to be done by all those involved in the issue: it is a summary of a possible future state of affairs. It could be called a ‘Proposition’

6 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 6 Stated Intentions A character's STATED INTENTIONS are things they tell others that they will do, given everyone's Positions and Intentions In communicating its Intentions a character has only to state what it intends to do itself A character’s Intentions may pose a threat to others (if they aren’t consistent with others' Position(s)) or they may provide a basis for agreement (if they are) A character’s Stated Intention is sometimes referred to as its ‘Walk-away Position’ or ‘Bottom Line’

7 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 7 Expressed Doubts A character’s EXPRESSED DOUBTS may concern others’ Positions or Intentions: When a character is sceptical as to whether another’s Intention(s) will (or won’t) be carried out [such doubts are current] When a character is sceptical as to whether another’s Intention(s) will (or won’t) be carried out [such doubts are current] When a character does not believe that if a particular Position were to be agreed that others would play their part in sustaining it [such doubts are clearly conditional] When a character does not believe that if a particular Position were to be agreed that others would play their part in sustaining it [such doubts are clearly conditional] A character’s Doubts give rise to ‘crises’ of credibility and trust

8 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 8 Stands A character’s Position, Stated Intentions, and Expressed Doubts are what it tries to make credible. Together they constitute its STAND. What characters communicate to each other are their Stands. Stands are observable. Of course it is perfectly possible that any element of a character’s Stand may be a falsehood (it may lie about its Position, its Stated Intention may be a bluff, and its Expressed Doubt about an Intention may be insincere), but that doesn’t matter: the stands are what is common knowledge (everyone knows that everyone knows, etc … about them) The conjunction of different character’s Stands may create dilemmas for some of them

9 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 9 Coming together Sharing perspectives Confronting The Episode

10 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 10 2 dilemmas of confrontation [dilemmas are named for what they make it hard to do] I have a Persuasion Dilemma with you if: I do not doubt that you will flout my Position EITHER you won’t say whether you will carry out my Position OR you say you won’t and I don’t doubt it. I have a Rejection Dilemma with you if: You doubt that I will flout your Position you don’t believe my assertion that I will carry out a threat or a Position that conflicts with yours (i.e. that I will reject your Position)

11 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 11 Confrontation CONFLICT STALEMATE AGREE Other’s intention Other’s position Own position Own intention

12 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 12 Solving Dilemmas –Characters think they can’t change any more … and they face dilemmas: dilemmas come about because they are taking the frame as fixed. –Character’s emotions well up and cause them to contemplate changes which they would have previously thought impossible –They can escape their dilemmas by changing the frame, for instance by: Thinking of new options Amending their objectives (and preferences) Changing Position or Intentions Drawing in (or excluding) other parties or by other means –These changes are all accompanied by emotion which helps them to shake free of their entrenched views –Interactions tend to generate the emotion needed for each kind of change

13 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 13 Emotion Emotion shakes characters out of fixed beliefs and values so that they can eliminate dilemmas –Positive emotion (love, goodwill) is involved when promises have to be made credible (to overcome dilemmas of agreement) –Negative emotion (anger, resentment) is involved when threats have to be made credible (to overcome dilemmas of disagreement) In the short run, emotion can substitute for, and also motivate, permanent, rationalized change But over-strong emotion indicates that permanent, rationalized change has not been achieved

14 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 14 Rational Argument Rational arguments in the common interest are used: –To convince others of changes in your own stance –To sway others in their commitments Rational argument is effective because: –Any confrontation or collaboration implies some common interest (in the issue at hand) –Rational arguments can be understood and explained to others –They make it easier for the ‘listener’ to shift position (though more difficult for the ‘speaker’ to do so) The outcome of using rational arguments are: –The creation of coalitions (i.e. ‘supercharacters’) –The ‘cementing’ of new Positions

15 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 15 Deception Deception is always possible (emotion or evidence may be faked) and is often tempting The possibility of deception creates disbelief. (The Paradox of Belief: why believe anyone when their saying something implies they want you to believe it?) However: –Faking emotion tends to create it and so may lead to genuine change –Logic and evidence can compel belief.

16 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 16 Coming together Sharing perspectives Confronting Collaborating The Episode

17 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 17 The dilemma of collaboration dilemmas are named for what they make it hard to do] I have a Trust Dilemma with you if: I doubt that you will support my Position I don’t trust you to carry out your promise

18 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 18 Resolution People reach an agreed resolution and act on it in good faith Having reached an agreement, some characters defect from it (or believe that others will, or believe that others believe that others will…) People determine to carry out their fallback strategies (in the belief that others will, etc.) Resigned to the conflict, some characters defect from their fallback actions (or believe that others will, etc.) These pathological denouements are humorous or ironic

19 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 19 Coming together Sharing perspectives Making changes Confronting Collaborating Commitment: to carry out threats or promises The Episode

20 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 20 The war in Georgia: 1 Georgia and the West have Persuasion Dilemmas (Threat Mode) with Russia Russia has Persuasion Dilemmas (Position Mode) with Georgia

21 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 21 The war in Georgia: 2 Georgia/West’s dilemmas with Russia Russia’s dilemmas with Georgia

22 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 22 Persuasion & Rejection Trust From Conflict to Co-operation STALEMATE AGREE CO-OPERATION Self move Other move Self stay Other stay PARANOIA CONFLICT Other’s intention Other’s position Own position Own intention

23 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 23 Coming together Sharing perspectives Making changes Confronting Collaborating Commitment: to carry out threats or promises Common Pathologies People deliberately fail to communicate lest communication lead to or disclose conflict On discovering that they have differing aspirations, people go straight into conflict Having got into conflict, people get stuck Resolution isn’t achieved because people have unwillingly accepted a solution to which they are not reconciled People experience the tensions of confrontation but don’t do anything about them – they just let them fester

24 September 2008 CRS Conference, University of Kent 24 Drama theory: sources Look at these websites: Read these: The Six Dilemmas of Collaboration: interorganisational relationships as drama by Jim Bryant (Wiley, 2003) Confrontation Analysis by Nigel Howard (from 1999) chapters on DT in Rational Analysis for a Problematic World Revisited edited by Jonathan Rosenhead & John Mingers (Wiley, 2001) Keep in touch with me: or


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