Saturday, September 21, 2013

Resolve Conflicts with Attention to Style

Any retailer who has participated in planning a wedding knows about conflict. Researchers at California State University-Long Beach and York University marveled at how Vietnamese shoppers navigated through the wedding plan conflicts in ways which maximized harmony.
     The researchers note that harmony with family, friends, and coworkers is a central value for consumers from many Asian cultures. Still, the wedding planning they observed did not consist of participants discounting their own interests or making expeditious tradeoffs. Instead, the style was one of striving to shape what one wanted so that it also would benefit others.
     Organizational psychologists Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann call this striving style “Collaboration.” It is one of five conflict resolution modes they identified. By you staying conscious of the style you and your shoppers are employing, you’re in a better position to deftly settle disagreements.
  • Competing occurs when someone involved in the disagreement pushes to satisfy his own interests while ignoring the concerns of others. There are situations, such as emergencies demanding immediate resolution, where an assertive exercise of power is best. We might call it “dominating.” Also, if a party to the conflict is being ignored, competing on a particular point might bring her needed attention. 
  • Accommodating is the opposite of Competing. The individual yields his interests to calm or earn the gratitude of others. When you’re refereeing a conflict among shoppers, asking one or another of them to accommodate the others can be helpful if the issue is somewhat unimportant to that individual. Like Competing, Accommodating provides quick resolution. 
  • Avoiding the conflict also can have a place. A delay lets tempers cool. This is most likely when a specific time is set to resume negotiations and when you ask everyone to be thinking about how to collaborate. Otherwise, the conflict stews in the minds of the participants as they plan out in excruciating detail their next thrusts and parries. 
  • Compromising refers to the expeditious tradeoffs in wedding planning that the Long Beach/York researchers described. Fruitful compromises take time to achieve. To launch Compromising, ask the conflict participants to “split a difference.” 
  • Collaborating requires time and commitment as each participant interacts with the others to find solutions which come close to completely satisfying the specifications of all stakeholders. To encourage Collaborating, ask each person to describe what she understands the others to be saying. This works because it separates understanding from evaluating. 
Click below for more: 
Feel the Emotions When Negotiating

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