Managing Conflict - Department of Agricultural Economics

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Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers

Managing Conflict

Bernard L. Erven

Department of Agricultural, Environmental
and Development Economics

Ohio State University

Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers

Conflict is inevitable


Whenever two or more people work
together, there will be conflict.


The manager’s challenge is how to
manage the conflict not how to avoid it.

Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers

Conflict: negative or positive?


Conflict may lead to improved relations
and solutions to problems, i.e. be
positive.


On the other hand, conflict may destroy
relationships and cause additional
problems, i.e., be negative.

Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers

Working to avoid, bury or deny conflict
results in continuation of its underlying
causes.


Conflict can continue indefinitely without resolution.


The underlying causes of conflict often hinge on
perceptions rather than facts.


Thus, conflict may be the unrecognized root cause of
failure to resolve a problem.


The challenge is to manage conflict in a way that it
turns a problem into an opportunity for improvement.

Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers


Getting to Yes


Negotiating Agreement Without Giving
In (
Roger Fisher and William Ury, Penguin Books
ISBN 01401.57352), a widely recognized authoritative
book, provides the basis for the following guidelines on
conflict management.


The guidelines incorporate key conflict management
principles.


The guidelines center on the basic premise for
successful conflict management


collaboration works
best.

Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers

Guidelines for collaboration


Don’t bargain over
POSITIONS
.


Separate the
PEOPLE

from the problem.


Focus on
INTERESTS
, not positions.


Invent
OPTIONS

for mutual gain.


Insist on using
OBJECTIVE

CRITERIA.

Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers

1. Don’t bargain over
POSITIONS


Produces unwise agreements.


Creates inefficiency.


Endangers an ongoing relationship.


Encourages giving in or being nice for
the wrong reasons.

Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers

Outcomes from bargaining


Win/Lose


One demands major concessions
from the other.


Lose/Win


One makes major concessions to
the other.


Win/Win


Both find an alternative that does
not require onerous concessions from either.

Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers

2. Separate the
PEOPLE

from
the problem


Make people the priority.


Recognize both substance and
relationship interests.


Deal directly with people problems.


Consider perceptions, emotions and
communication barriers.

Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers

3. Focus on
INTERESTS
, not
positions


Reconcile interests, not positions.


Seek to understand the other person’s
interests.


Ask, “Why?”


Ask, “Why not?”


Be hard on the problem, soft on the people.

Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers

4. Invent
OPTIONS

for mutual
gain


Be creative.


Broaden the options beyond the obvious


Brainstorm.


Consider unusual, nontraditional and even
surprising options.


Look for mutual gain.


Make the other person’s decision easy.

Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers

5. Insist on using
OBJECTIVE

CRITERIA


Use fair standards.


Make the procedures fair.


Reason and be open to reason.


Never yield to pressure.

Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers

Strategic Business Planning for
Commercial Producers