Conflict resolution can be defined as the informal or formal process that two or more parties use to find a peaceful solution to their dispute. This training will review types of conflicts and instruct in the skills needed to resolve most conflicts.
A number of common cognitive and emotional traps, many of them unconscious, can exacerbate conflict and contribute to the need for conflict resolution. The course will examine the following:
Self-serving fairness interpretations. Rather than deciding what’s fair from a position of neutrality, we interpret what would be most fair to us, then justify this preference on the bases of fairness.
Overconfidence. We tend to be overconfident in our judgments, a tendency that leads us to unrealistic expectations. Disputants are likely to be overconfident about their odds of winning a dispute, for instance, an error that can lead them to shun a negotiated settlement that would save them time and money or a relationship.
Escalation of commitment. Whether negotiators are dealing with a labor strike, a merger, or an argument with a colleague, they are likely to irrationally escalate their commitment to their chosen course of action, long after it has proven useful. We desperately try to recoup our past investments in a dispute (such as money spent on legal fees), failing to recognize that such “sunk costs” should play no role in our decisions about the future.
Conflict avoidance. Because negative emotions cause us discomfort and distress, we may try to tamp them down, hoping that our feelings will dissipate with time. In fact, conflict tends to become more entrenched, and parties have a greater need for conflict resolution when they avoid dealing with their strong emotions.