The authors of the book “the handbook of conflict: theory and practice” tailored the text to suit both the student and the professionals who have the desire of deepening their knowledge and understanding on issues of conflict and constructive conflict management.
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In this paper, chapters 31, 32, and 34 which focus on Teaching Conflict Resolution Skills in a Workshop, Mediation Revisited, and Conflict in Organizations respectively, will be analyzed.
The chapter 32 of the book is a collection of ideas by Ellen Raider, Janet Gerson, and Susan Coleman on how to teach conflict resolving skills in a workshop. Using the Coleman Raider model, the authors of this chapter teach the reader both mediation and negotiation skills to resolve conflicts.
The authors use “their teaching philosophy, course objectives, and methods” in simulating research as well as discussion on how to go about resolution of conflicts (Deutsch, 2006). The use of the six pedagogies gives the reader an insight derived from the authors practice on how training should be designed.
The first pedagogy displays the learner as implicit and unique in the way they resolve conflicts. The second explains that, all learners should be given enough support and also challenged in the effort of determining the kind of conflict resolution theory which they have put in place.
The third insight “signifies the use of experiential exercises to connect the learner and the trainer, by shifting their responsibilities” (Deutsch, 2006). The fourth insight is about self reflection in behavior modification; the fifth insight shows the importance of using user-friendly models during the workshop while the sixth insight explains the important of follow ups after the workshop.
The Coleman Raider model gives a three to six days format on how to go about the workshop. All the workshop participants must be issued with manuals illustrating the guidelines that are related with the course’s modules. The information provided in these models serves as a foundation for holding a successful workshop (Deutsch, 2006).
Chapter 32 of the book is written by Kenneth Kressel who emphasizes on mediation as an important element in the effort of managing interpersonal and social conflicts. Mediation is important for it helps reduce tension, clarify the burning issue, and adversary humanization.
The mediation process consists of stages that require the right skills, behaviors, and attitudes so as to be successful. A mediator in conflict should have attributes and skills such as: an ability of establishing rapport between the conflicting parties, an ability to gather information, listening careful, suspending judgment, and fostering of normal collaboration (Deutsch, 2006).
The reader has the chance of learning the intriguing ironies that a mediator experiences. The text also explains the different seminal roles played by supporters and friends in the mediation process.
Familiarizing one self with the mediation process and encouraging its use can actually transform people’s view on mediation as an untapped resource to an instrument that can be frequently used to solve conflicts.
In chapter 34, Warner Burke explains seven concepts that are main contributors of conflicts in an organization. These contributors present the powerful forces that lead to discord in the workplace. In management theory, there are three interfaces to concentrate on: “the organization-environment interface,” “group to group interface,” and “the individual-and-organization interface (Deutsch, 2006).
These interfaces combined with interpersonal issues make up this chapter and they are demonstrated as the most important concepts in establishing and resolving organizational conflicts.
The reader gets to learn that underlying agreements within the organization give rise to conflicts within the organization. Still from the text, one can learn that there are two types of conflict in an organizational setting.
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These are real conflicts which result from substantive and real differences and phony conflicts which comprise of hostility and “negative blaming behavior” emerging from mismanaged agreements (Deutsch, 2006). Generally, the author gives different strategies of establishing and solving organizational conflicts.
These three chapters give the reader an insight on how to learn important skills of resolving conflicts in a workshop, how to mediate conflicting parties to achieve peace, and how to establish and solve organizational conflicts. The chapters provide a comprehensive scope on personal and implicit theories that are crucial in solving conflicts.
Deutsch, M. (2006). The handbook of conflict resolution: Theory and practice. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.