Resolving a conflict isn’t Conflict Management – and nor is Alternate Dispute Resolution or ADR.
Conflict Management undoubtedly includes these two important functions – but starts with the identification of potential conflict, and goes all the way past resolution to transformation of the way conflict and change are dealt with.
Resolving conflict clearly saves waste, improves productivity, reduces staff turnover, decreases absenteeism, raises engagement levels and more – certainly one of the two primary raison d’êtres for the Conflict Management function.
The other comes from the fact that real resolution requires creativity. It is never about ‘bunny-hugging’ or ‘split-the-difference’ techniques. Resolution must have sustainability – and that means ideas that work. A robust and fresh idea that resolves a workplace conflict or crisis can often be used in other parts of an organisation in proactive ways – a fine way to unlock and leverage value.
Without moving past resolution, competitive advantages that are hidden within conflict dialogue would never manifest.
Conflict management is like an orange with its juice extracted, its rind used in delicious food recipes, it’s seeds processed for fine aromatherapy oils, and the technology to do all that utilised throughout an orange grower’s organisation.
The aim of conflict management is to enhance learning and group outcomes, including effectiveness or performance in organizational setting.
M. Afzalur Rahim, founder of the International Journal of Organizational Analysis and the International Journal of Conflict Management.
A good Conflict Management System treats conflict as a significant resource and consequently, never leaves value on the table.