Sunday, July 20, 2014

5 Strategies for Conflict Resolution

5 Strategies for Conflict Resolution

There is a saying, wherever there are more than two human beings politics prevail. Hence, it is very common to have conflicts between human beings working on for a project. PMBOK® Guide 5thEdition talks about five strategies for conflict resolution. Conflicts are nothing but a difference of opinion. Conflict resolution is nothing but to agree on a common consensus from where the project can be successfully planned, executed, monitored & controlled and closed. But why do we need not to have conflict is because we want happiness and as J.Krishnamurthy puts it Happiness is not to be bought, nor does it come when you go after it; but it is there when there is no conflict.1

Description as per PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition2
Withdraw/ Avoid
Retreating from an actual or potential conflict situation; postponing the issue to be better prepared or to be resolved by others.
This is a situation where we know that we can't win the argument, or we feel that it is not even worth arguing with the individual with whom we have the conflict just because we perceive that the individual is ignorant. This is a situation where the stakes are low and we know we can't win at all and save our reputation. May be sometimes we believe that the problem gets solved all by itself over a period of time.
Smooth/ Accommodate
Emphasizing areas of agreement rather than areas of difference; conceding one’s position to the needs of others to maintain harmony and relationship
In this kind of conflict you just smoothen the situation by maintaining harmony and you just tell the team members that the situation is not so bad as they think and smoothen it to control their tempers.
Compromise/ Reconcile
Searching for solutions that bring some degree of satisfaction to all parties in order to temporarily or partially resolve the conflict.
This is a lose-lose situation. This is a situation where both parties want to win, but in reality it is not possible. So both parties lose something. This happens when there is an equal relationship between the parties who are in conflict. And under any circumstance you want to avoid fight among the parties.
Force/ Direct
Pushing one’s view point at the expense of others; offering only win-lose solutions, usually enforced through a power position to resolve an emergency.
This is a win-lose situation. This is the situation where you feel that you are right and the other party is not right and you force your discretion on other party so that you gain power and you don’t give high priority to the relationship. Priority is given only to time and stakes are very high if the task is not finished in time.
Collaborate/ Problem  Solve
Incorporating multiple viewpoints and insights from differing perspectives; requires a cooperative attitude and open dialogue that typically leads to consensus and commitment.
This is a win-win situation. This is the situation where both parties trust each other and have enough time to tackle the situation. This kind of a situation is where the main objective is to learn from the situation and use it as an opportunity to explore and take some preventive or corrective action. In this case the maintenance of relationship is very important.

The Thomas / Kilmann model of Conflict resolving techniques is graphically represented in the figure below.

1.     J. Krishnamurti, Life Ahead - Part One Chapter 16
2.     PMBOK® 5th Edition, Page 283

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