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Definition of Conflict

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1 Definition of Conflict
“Conflict is an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scare resources, and interference from others in achieving their goals.” Scarce resources – tangible things like oil, water, money, land…..two biggest scarce resources are power and self-esteem (matches up to relational goals and identity/face goals). Are power and self-esteem actually scarce? Does that matter or is perception more important?

2 Burton – Human Needs Burton says that conflict stems from unsatisfied human needs In conflict, people represent their interests, but not their underlying needs; however, they will use power and coercion to meet those needs Criticism to Burton’s theory – too simple, needs aren’t always easy to see, some needs are cultural – then nothing can be applied from conflict to conflict, there are usually both needs and interests at play, both of which must be satisfied

3 Galtung – Structural Violence
Inequalities embedded in the social structure lead to violence and conflict. Unless those underlying inequalities are solved, then violence will continue Prime example is lower-class people dying because health care resources are granted to the upper-class Other examples – Northern Ireland, Kenya, gangs in cities

4 Coser – social function of conflict
Conflict is not always dysfunctional for the relationship within which it occurs; often, conflict is necessary to maintain such a relationship Conflict not only generates new norms, new institutions…it may be said to be stimulating directly in the economic and technological realm. If Coser is correct, and conflict serves a socially useful function, then should conflicts be resolved? Conflict gives vent to hostilities, and thereby preserves and improves relationships Globally, it improves economy and technology Every conflict has a social function, yet every conflict has a cost. can you weigh the function and the cost during the conflict?

5 Game Theory Zero-sum game
fixed pie People assume that they can either win or lose. If I win a quarter, they lose a quarter – the sum is always zero you give up nothing, because it means the other side wins what you give up If people go into a conflict assuming it is a zero-sum conflict, they concede nothing. They dig into their positions. If you can change it from a zero-sum game (broaden the pie), you are more likely to come up with an agreement

6 HISTORY Social movements:
Gandhi and nonviolence – movement to free India of British Rule Women’s suffrage movement, Lech Walesa and Solidarity in Poland Nelson Mandela/Desmond Tutu and the movement against Apartheid in South Africa Based off each other, and off Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience.”

7 HISTORY Thoreau said: Two times when open rebellion is justified:
when the injustice is no longer occasional but a major characteristic when the machine (government) demands that people cooperate with injustice. Thoreau declared that, “If the government requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.” This will be one of the essay questions. Explain civil disobedience, and argue for or against it. Back up your argument with examples of conflicts or social movements.

8 Escalation of conflict
Conflicts escalate in both scope and severity Conflicts can escalate constructively or destructively

9 Destructive Conflict Characteristics of destructive escalation
parties become less flexible goals are narrowly defined and rigid primary goal is to defeat the other party – assumes the other side must lose becomes protracted and intractable Characteristics of destructive agreements damages relationships promotes inequality & power imbalance outcomes are imposed unilaterally often requires redress or revenge outcomes are often oppressive to one side DOES NOT SOLVE UNDERLYING CAUSES other destructive characteristics – threats, ultimatums, hostile, personal attacks, digging into your position,

10 Constructive Conflicts
Constructive conflicts are not the absence of destructive elements Characteristics of constructive escalation interaction changes often flexible goals/objectives guided by belief that all parties can win Characteristics of constructive agreements strengthens relationships restores equality recognizing the other parties as legitimate using benefits/promises rather than threats/coercion find mutually acceptable solutions Conflict is actually solved

11 Conflict Continuum Negotiation is at the bottom because negotiation theory is the base for all forms of conflict resolution (mediation, arbitration, even diplomacy)


13 Negotiation Theory Positional Negotiation
Positions are the stance you take and your proposed solution “I want $3,000 for this car” “Stop taking my stuff – you have to ask me first.” Positions are your statements of what you’re willing to give Positional negotiation starts with two positions and attempts to find a middle ground between them, or barter until one party gives in to the other position. Problems with Positional bargaining – it’s inefficient, it produces unwise agreements, your ego gets involved, so you spend time saving face rather than looking for solutions

14 Positional Bargaining
Hard vs. Soft positional bargaining Hard bargaining – make threats, damage relationships, demand concessions from other party, goal is victory, search for one answer you will accept, apply pressure Soft bargaining – you get taken, sacrifice your needs for relationship, trust other party, disclose your bottom line, try to win friends, search for an answer they will accept Can you think of times when either would be appropriate?

15 Principled Negotiation
1. Separate People from Problems 2. Focus on Interests not Positions Topic interests/goals Relational interests/goals Identity or Face interests/goals Process interests/goals 3. Invent solutions for mutual gain 4. Insist the result be based on some objective criteria

16 Separate people from problems
Negotiators are people first every party in a negotiation has emotions and ego, and can have misunderstandings The relationship needs to be taken into account in all negotiations Perceptions – does truth matter? understand their perceptions to come up with better solutions Emotions – the higher the stakes, the higher emotions run Communication – all negotiations have misunderstandings at the least, you want to preserve the relationship long enough to get an agreement at best, you want this negotiation to strengthen an ongoing relationship Perception – which is more important – the objective facts of how the two sides have treated each other, or the way each side perceives how they are treated? How do you find out their perceptions? Put yourself in their shoes, ask them, don’t assume their perceptions from your fears

17 Negotiation Interests not Positions
Positions are something you decided on – what you’re demanding as a solution Interests are what got you there For every interest, there are several positions you could take, and vice-versa To negotiate interests, identify them ask why? what are they getting from position ask why not? what are they not getting most common interests are needs-based

18 Types of Interests T.R.I.P. Topic and Process interests
Topic, relational, identity/face, process Topic and Process interests external, negotiable, substantive, tangible, expressed Relational and Identity interests internal, non-negotiable, usually not expressed aloud, intangible (values) DRIVE all conflicts TEST QUESTIONS – a dialog from a conflict – is this person advancing a topic, relational, identity or process goal? ESSAY QUESTION – read a conflict – list all the goals, and assign type, draw diagram

19 Topic and Process Goals
Topic interests: what do we want? what are we fighting for? either both parties have the same goal, or both parties have opposing goals Process interests: what communication process will we use? process goals appear when low-power party cries unjust process or unfair fight THIS WILL BE A TEST QUESTION – give an example of a conflict because both sides have opposing topic goals, and a conflict because both sides have the same topic goals

20 Relational Goals Who are we to each other?
How will we be treated? How much influence do we have over the other? How interdependent are we? At the heart of all conflicts, but rarely articulated Relational goals must be met in order to solve underlying issues

21 Face or Identity Goals Who am I in this conflict?
You can save or damage your own face or the other’s face If face is destroyed, it must be restored (saved) before any other conflict goal can be addressed When face is damaged: people dig into their positions creates losers who “get back at you” next time

22 Ways to restore face How we save our own face:
rationalize actions claim unjust intimidation dig into our position damage other’s face How we save other’s face: help increase their self-esteem avoid giving orders or directives listen carefully and legitimize their concerns No one wants to look like the loser

23 More about types of interests
Interests overlap all conflicts have multiple goals relational and identity goals are always present different goals have primacy parties in conflict rarely have same goals with same primacy Interests are disguised relational and face goals are presented as topic and process goals People say “I’m right” when what they mean is a relational goal of “I want more respect from you” or “I want to be viewed as an expert.” People say “you’re not being fair” when they mean “I don’t want to look like I’m losing”

24 More about interests Goals/Interests change Prospective goals
goals change as they’re met or as they’re frustrated Prospective goals what you want as you’re preparing Transactive goals goals that emerge during the conflict shift as negotiation occurs can become destructive (esp. face) can be sacrificed (esp. topic) Retrospective goals – set up for next time If you don’t know your goals, you cannot recognize solutions If you don’t know their goals, you can’t come up with solutions that meet everyone’s goals As conflict becomes destructive, it becomes reactive – we assume we know their goals, and fight back. Leads to misunderstandings, destructive escalation, and rarely (if ever) to good solutions that promote the relationship

25 Invent Solutions for Mutual Gain
Easiest solution in a negotiation is to split the difference between the positions In order to have more options to choose from, you need more solutions Brainstorm Broaden your options shuttle between the specific and the general invent options of differing strength change scope Make a bigger pie (game theory) look for shared interests and goals split differing interests Turn it into reaching a common goal shuttle – coming up with big, overall theories of how to resolve a conflict first can lead you to tangible action steps. Look at the broad picture, then pull it back to the specific different strengths – provisional vs. permanent, procedure vs. substance, what needs to be decided – WEAKER AGREEMENTS ARE EASIER TO GET TOO

26 Insist on Objective Criteria
Use a “Fair Standard” market value, such as “blue-book value” professional standards precedent scientific judgment Use a “Fair Procedure” Flip a coin, lottery, use a 3rd party, “I divide, you choose” Agree to the principles first Not a way to strengthen your position – a fair standard must be fair for both parties

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