The first task of the paper is to figure out the main desired outcomes of conflict negotiation. Mostly the desired outcomes are discussed from the “the vantage-point of the third party or manager”. The desired outcomes can be fit into three main categories such as satisfaction, fairness and effectiveness. The possible outcome may be instituting better procedures and rules. It is the example of fairness outcome. The next goal is finding acceptable solution which displays a participant satisfaction. (Jameson 1999)
The last goal has to indicate the concern for the effective solution. The desired objectives regarding to this category may be improving the relationships, working on a structural solution, altering structure of work, preventing repetition, teaching conflicting parties how to manage effectively their problem in the future work, creating more clarity and transparency, trying to create the best suitable solution of conflict, finding pragmatic solution, etc. It is found that a conflict is the reflection of structural changes and can help in choosing the best suited strategy instead of settling individual problems. Such perspective is the evidence that the desired outcome is generation of organizational changes.
Conflict negotiating is based also on four strategic dimensions and desired outcomes depend on the chosen dimension. The four dimensions are effectiveness or quality of decision, efficiency or consumption of organizational resources, effects on relationships of conflicting parties and effects on individual perceptions. Actually the desired outcome is based on the specific conflict situation. It is also admitted that the desired outcomes are closely connected with personal preferences and styles of management in company. (Jameson 1999)
According to another theory there are eight common outcomes. Three of them are similar to managerial goals (improving the relationship, minimizing cost, timeliness). The other five are obtaining a neutral opinion, establishing a precedent, maximizing/minimizing recovery, privacy and vindication. In some cases it is the neutral position that is the best desired outcome, although sometimes it is very difficult to act neutrally. The mentioned desire outcome is implicated when disputants prefer a third party. It is noted that neutral position refers to fairness. (Killian 2003)
Main Concepts of Strategies
The second task is to define main concept beyond strategies of conflict managing. There are three main concepts: interest-based, rights-based and power-based.
The first interest-based management concept is the concept of mediation. There is no defined role of mediator and that is why this concept involves intervention by a neutral third party who will be responsible for guiding process in right direction and at the same time he will allow conflicting parties to control the desired outcome. The mediator is also responsible for providing information about legal issue of the problem. Mediator engages perspective and reasonable talking, improves relationships between them and helps to find realistic settlement of the conflict. (Jameson 1999)
Interest-based concept is identified as such that suits to conflict management. The concept involves such aspects as advising, negotiation, mediation and facilitation. All the concepts can be both informal and formal when the external provider is invited to be a mediator. Interest-based concept suggests third party which can be presented by external third party, intervening managers of other employees, because they are able to use the strategy potentially. Intervening managers and other employees usually prefer advising whereas external providers prefer mediation and facilitation. (Jameson 1999)
The second concept is rights-based strategy which can be successfully applied to organizational context. Such strategy is mostly carried out by either senior executive officer or human resource manager of the organization. Also ombudsmen and peer review board can be utilized by organization during conflict management. It is noted that external third party (arbitrator) may be involved only in rare case when there is no other way out. In other cases he is not present. It is apparent that rights-based concept refers to informal strategies involving inquisitorial and adversarial intervention of senior managers.
Such strategy can be also formal when it is a part of grievance procedures of the company. Others can be intervened only for finding necessary facts and for adjudicative issues whereas external third parties are involved in the process only during special circumstances. Such circumstances suggest serious violations of human rights and external part use the adversarial strategy as arbitrator. Managers perform also the role of judges. (Jameson 1999)
Conflict required rights-based strategy is “win-lose situation” where third party perform judge-like role. The third party controls the desired outcome, although the disputants have the possibility to influence the final decision and the result of the case. The result must refer to satisfaction and fairness concept mentioned above. (Jameson 1999)
The third concept is power-based strategy. This concept is frequently used in managing conflicts, because the power in organization is significant. Power-based strategies can be used by many managers within organization. Intervening parts are allowed to act autocratically, to impose solutions, to restructure working process with the purpose to minimize the interactions of disputants. Rights-based concept provides impetus, constrains conflicting parts to settle problems by their own and offers punishment in case disputants find no compromise and reward in case the conflict is managed effectively.
Power-based approaches are used in cease of high time pressure, wide range of impacts and/or low interdependence of disputants. It is possible to expect this concept when “the third party is seen as an expert or in control over the issue in conflict”. Power-based strategy is used mostly by disputants, intervening managers and intervening others with high status. Power-based approach is rarely used by external third parties. (Jameson 1999)
Jameson, Jessica. “Toward a comprehensive model for the assessment and management of intra-organizational conflict: Developing the framework”. International Journal of Conflict Management, July 1999.
Rahim, Afzafur. Theory and Research in Conflict Management. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1990.
Killian, Jerri. Handbook of Conflict Management. New York, Marcel Dekker, 2003.