Technologies impact on interpersonal communications, data access, and expectations:
Increasing use of internal communication mechanisms instead of public, including web
Increasing time limits or role limits to access of information
Issued caused when technical processes not in place that perhaps should be for process tracking or control
Technology limitations (or technology person-power) forcing process change
Automating a broken process not fixing the process
Confusion on contact points
The challenges of above:
Who decides--the power of administrative personality
Cherry picking (sharing only the good stuff)
Maintenance of both data and the custom systems
Inclination toward generic help
As pointed out by Shonk (2021), there are three primary elements of conflict:
Interests. Conflicts often arise when we fail to carefully think through our own interests. For example, you
may take offense after hearing through the grapevine that a coworker took full credit for a project you
completed together. You certainly have a short-term interest in correcting that false impression, if
it’s true. At the same time, you may be overlooking a greater long-term interest: contributing to a
functional workplace where conflicts are handled productively and relationships grow stronger.
Alternatives. Our alternatives are another one of the primary elements of conflict. Experienced negotiators
understand the importance of identifying their best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) before talks
get underway. When we have a strong sense of our BATNA, we will position ourselves to accept no less than we
can get elsewhere and increase our bargaining power. Parties in conflict also need to consider their
BATNA—that is, what they will do if they fail to resolve the dispute.
Identity. Conflicts often tap into our deepest sense of our own identity. To take a couple of examples of
conflict situations, if your boss accuses you of doing a poor job on an assignment, you may feel as if your
identity as a skilled, hard-working employee is under attack. And if you lose your temper when scolding your
child for making a mess just after you’ve cleaned the house, you may question your identity as a
reasonable, empathic parent. Because they lead us to question our essential competence and goodness, such
“identity quakes” can knock us off-balance and worsen conflict.
If one considers international conflict, according to Kelman and Fisher (2003) there are four primary reasons:
international conflict is a process driven by collective needs and fears
international conflict is an intersocietal process
international conflict is a multifaceted process of mutual influence
international conflict is an iterative process with an escalatory self-perpetuating dynamic
Both normative and perceptual processes and promote conflict.
To resolve conflict situations, here are some recommendations from University of Berkeley People and Culture
Acknowledge that a difficult situation exists. Honesty and clear communication play an important role in the
resolution process. Acquaint yourself with what's happening and be open about the problem.
Let individuals express their feelings. Some feelings of anger and/or hurt usually accompany conflict
situations. Before any kind of problem-solving can take place, these emotions should be expressed and
Define the problem. What is the stated problem? What is the negative impact on the work or relationships?
Are differing personality styles part of the problem? Meet with employees separately at first and question
them about the situation.
Determine underlying need. The goal of conflict resolution is not to decide which person is right or wrong;
the goal is to reach a solution that everyone can live with. Looking first for needs, rather than solutions,
is a powerful tool for generating win/win options. To discover needs, you must try to find out why people want
the solutions they initially proposed. Once you understand the advantages their solutions have for them, you
have discovered their needs.
Find common areas of agreement, no matter how small:
Agree on the problem
Agree on the procedure to follow
Agree on worst fears
Agree on some small change to give an experience of success
Find solutions to satisfy needs:
Problem-solve by generating multiple alternatives
Determine which actions will be taken
Make sure involved parties buy into actions. (Total silence may be a sign of passive resistance.) Be
sure you get real agreement from everyone.
Determine follow-up you will take to monitor actions. You may want to schedule a follow-up meeting in about
two weeks to determine how the parties are doing.
Determine what you'll do if the conflict goes unresolved. If the conflict is causing a disruption in the
department and it remains unresolved, you may need to explore other avenues.
Cultural transformation often happens for one of a few reasons: increasing contact between societies, forces at
work within a society, and changes in the natural environment. It often involves not only invention and
innovation but culture loss as old patterns replace new ones. Envision, for example, the skills taught to
children today as compared to a century ago. Cursive writing being just one example. Here are some ways in
which transformation might occur:
Diffusion (see Everett Rogers) - the spreading of something more widely
Acculturation - assimilation to a different culture, typically the dominant one (minority culture adopting
some of the values, customs, or behaviors of the host culture)
Transculturation - cultural transformation marked by the influx of new culture elements and the loss or
alteration of existing ones (equal exchange, or two-way flow, of traits between two cultural groups)
Some Useful Skill Sets
Cross-Sector Collaboration. How can we approach effective multi-organization partnerships across sectors?
How can we measure the impact of such efforts?
Crisis Leadership. How can we enhance human performance in times of crisis? How can we inspire our
organizations to adapt to extreme events in a network world?
Effective Negotiations. How do we build a culture that promotes cooperation and manages emotions
constructively in that process?
Strategic Communications. What core messages should leaders communicate to their various audiences in this
Policy Influence. What are tactics for influencing policy discussions and decision makers in complex,
dynamic conditions complicated by technology and global interconnectedness? (Buffett & Shapiro, 2019)
Design thinking is a human-centered way of looking at innovation which focuses on the needs of people via
empathy. The five steps in design thinking are: emphasize, define, ideate, prototype, and test.