Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology
Fort Pilar, Zamboanga City
Master in Public Management
PM ELECT. 6 - Team Building and Conflict Management
Conflict Management -
Working Towards Collaboration
Submitted by: Submitted to:
TEOFILO A. TUBO ELEANOR B. PEREZ, DM
MPM- I Instructor
Conflict Management –
1. General: Cooperative arrangement in which two or more parties (which
may or may not have any previous relationship) work jointly towards
a common goal.
2. Knowledge management (KM): Effective method of transferring 'know
how' among individuals, therefore critical to creating and sustaining
a competitive advantage. Collaboration is a key tenet of KM.
3. Negotiations: Conflict resolution strategy that uses both assertiveness
and cooperation to seek solutions advantageous to all parties. It succeeds
usually where the participants' goals are compatible, and the interaction
among them is important in attaining those goals.
Collaborative: People tending towards a collaborative style try to meet
the needs of all people involved. These people can be highly assertive
but unlike the competitor, they cooperate effectively and acknowledge
that everyone is important. This style is useful when a you need to bring
together a variety of viewpoints to get the best solution; when there
have been previous conflicts in the group; or when the situation is too
important for a simple trade-off.
By: Jaceson Maughan
Workplace conflict is commonplace, but managers who can incorporate
certain types of conflict management strategies that work will soon be
able to achieve their goals and minimize disruptions. Managers will
successfully eliminate conflicts and turn the situation into a problem-
solving opportunity that will ultimately benefit the entire office.
Collaboration: This conflict management strategy is considered one of
the most successful, but it needs the right environment to work. The idea
is that both sides work together in a spirit of teamwork to reach goals
and preserve relationships. It works best when there is a long-term
business relationship in place and the common goals are what is best for
Moving from Conflict to Collaboration
By Stan Clark, EdD, Psychologist
There are several ways we might begin to move from conflict to collaboration.
Here are several to consider as you prepare to prevent or work through conflicts
in your workplace.
Adjust your outlook. Examining our attitude toward conflict is an important
first step. We are more likely to “transform” conflicts into collaborative
conversations when we expect constructive changes to occur and are willing to
actively engage in a process of working out integrative solutions (Lederach &
Find common ground. Contribute to the development of a shared vision that
is compelling to all group members and advocate for a division of labor that
permits each participant to employ some of their best skills, knowledge, and
interests. Point out emerging increments of agreement and progress toward
mutually desired outcomes.
Build relationships. Even before agreeable solutions begin to emerge, it is
important to notice and encourage earnest efforts by others to work
cooperatively. Establish routine patterns of connection, such as starting each
conversation by reviewing shared interests and areas of agreement.
Use two-way communication practices. When you begin a new team
venture, present your positions and ideas using “I-statements” and open to others’
perspectives. Restate your best understanding of others’ points, values, and interests
using key phrases they use. Ask for confirmation or correction. Request that others
do the same.
Proceed in small steps. Stay focused on freshly emerging issues versus getting
bogged down addressing more complex problems prematurely. Break bigger
problems into sequential steps and tackle them one at a time.
Keep a broad perspective. When it is necessary to address differences, it is
important to cultivate ways to recover from unpleasant conflict experiences. One
way to do this involves acknowledging your contributions to difficulty and expressing
a desire to get back on track. It can also be useful to occasionally discuss differences
from a third person perspective (Gellerman, & O’Brien, 2006; Stone, Patton, & Heen,
1999), summarizing two different perspectives openly and without judgment the way
a third party might describe them.
Manage your emotions. Before meeting with members of a work team with
whom you have disagreements, it can be helpful to withdraw and calm
yourself. As one might expect, the affect or feeling experienced during a
conflict has been found to be a major predictor of the outcome of the conflict.
Research by Barbara Fredrickson (2001) has indicated that the worse people
feel in such situations, the less capable they are to consider options and pursue
You might also prepare yourself for unpleasant emotional reactions others may
experience, so you will be less likely to react in ways that are likely to worsen
and perpetuate emotional reactivity. One way to strengthen this practice is to
imagine a thick glass wall between you and the person who is upset and to
focus mainly on your own feelings, thoughts, and actions without reacting. It is
also important to seek common ground from the outset of a work project and
to revisit this focus whenever emotional conflict emerges.
Be compassionate. When you encounter avoidant or adversarial reactions,
remind yourself that everyone engages in some version of these patterns at
times. Reflect on whether these reactions are fleeting or whether they
represent a person’s characteristic style of handling conflict. People with
integrative or compromising styles may sometimes lapse into withdrawal or
attack mode, even you! This tends to occur when someone is struggling to
express what feels deeply important in terms that others will be able to
understand. Anyone in this fix will tend to feel helpless and frustrated until it
becomes possible to succeed in articulating one’s perspective effectively.
Take breaks to regroup. When you suspect others are struggling in their
efforts to express themselves, acknowledge it. You can open the door to mutual
understanding and trust by saying something like, “It seems there is something
really important you need to say about this. I propose we take a short break so
you can organize your thoughts and I can clear my mind to listen so we can work
this out together.” You might even establish an agreement when your group meets
for the first time to take breaks to regroup as needed. This can greatly improve
everyone’s chances of keeping a sense of perspective and maintain the capacity
for creative problem solving. By being proactive, you are more likely to avoid the
development of intractable conflicts from the outset.
Distinguish between intentions and impact. If you do become entangled
in a heated exchange, you can begin to get back on track by differentiating
between your intentions and the impact of your comments and actions.
Mishandling these is one of the biggest factors leading to intractable conflicts.
Claiming to know another’s intentions inevitably ends in deadlocked
conversations. Ignoring or denying the impact of your words and actions on others
is also sure to lead to lose-lose situations. Conflict becomes more
productive when all parties are willing and able to openly accept each other’s
reported intentions and to
acknowledge unintentional negative impacts pointed out by others (Stone, Patton,
& Heen, 1999).
Four Phases of Collaborative Problem-solving
1. Identify the Problem
• Initiator – Stick to facts, describe behaviors, avoid accusations and fixation on one issue
• Responder - Show genuine concern, empathy, get specific examples, agree with
• Mediator – Validate, maintain neutral posture, keep the meeting moving, facilitate without
2. Generate Solutions
• Initiator - Focus on shared interests
• Responder - Ask for suggestions, avoid debates regarding merits
• Mediator- Explore options by having individuals see commonalities; explore the
“whys,” behind disagreements
3. Formulate an Action Plan
• Set superordinate goals-Superordinate goals are goals that get people from
opposing sides to come together and work toward a common end result.
• Ensure that all parties agree to plan -Details: who, what, how, when, and where
4. Implement the Plan and Follow-up
Eight Dangers of Collaboration
by Nilofer Merchant (Harvard University)
Most of what is written about collaboration is positive. Even hip. Collaboration is
championed enthusiastically by the Enterprise 2.0 experts, as well as leading thinkers
like Don Tapscott, as the crucial approach for the 21st century. Collaboration creates
once-elusive "buy-in or "empowerment," improves problem solving, increases
creativity, is key to innovation at companies like Lego, Pixar, and Intuit. It slashes costs
and improves productivity.
So why is collaboration as rare as it is?
The short answer is that collaboration is dangerous. Inherently, collaboration says
something is happening outside of one's immediate control. This by itself seems
threatening to some, but there are several specific reasons why it appears dangerous:
1. Not knowing the answer. The fundamental premise of collaboration is that you can
use it to solve complex problems that are beyond the function of one domain or
expertise. That means that each participant needs to be comfortable with a certain
amount of ambiguity. Most people have built their careers — perhaps even their identity
— on being the expert. They don't like feeling ignorant.
2. Unclear or uncomfortable roles. Role and responsibilities in the collaboration
space tend not to be hierarchical; they are often fluid, changing from phase to phase of
the work. This can be especially hard for senior executives, because it may mean
taking off their mantle of being the "chief of answers" and becoming part of the "tribe of
3. Too much talking, not enough doing. Collaboration means a shift from
thinking big ideas alone, and more into the real-time mess of problem solving with
others. Shifting work from "I tell, they do" to a "We think together" approach will
appear at first to be all about talking. Like we've moved to the land of yack, yack,
yack. But thinking together closes a gap. By thinking together, people can then act
without checking back in because they were there when the decision got made.
They've already had the debates about all the tradeoffs that actually make
something work. But that means organizations spend more time in the messy and
time-consuming up-front process of designing solutions that'll work.
4. Information (over)sharing. For collaboration to work, information is rarely
left in any silo but is shared and often combined in unexpected ways to reframe
problems. For some people, this can mean information overload. For others, who
withhold information in order to retain power, the free flow of information is
5.Fear of fighting. Collaborating means dealing with conflicting priorities. "Turf"
isn't always clear. If you avoid conflict, or don't know how to fight effectively, nothing
will happen. Knowing how to debate the tradeoffs between many viable options
means knowing how to argue with each other about the business in more open and
visible ways. (I've already written about Steve Jobs doing this with his team.) Not
doing it well, or doing it wrong — or simply losing? Very risky. Very dangerous.
6. More work. Often, collaboration happens on top of other work. Participants
are already plenty busy with their "day job" and the new project may be especially
stressful because of this. Until the problems that any collaboration project is aimed
to fix gets solved, a collaboration project can often be overwhelming. Most people
describe collaboration in what I call a nice-nice way: If we would just collaborate,
then we would do better! But as we've already described, collaboration is about
the friction of ideas and the forging of new ways of working. That is not easy, or
even nice. And it makes new demands on all of us. It means leaders must do more
than just tell people what to do. It also means people within the organization have
to do more than say, "Hey, that thing is broken" and then delicately walk away.
7. More hugs than decisions. The fear is that if we ask for opinions we must
listen to all of them, and that we'll create watered down "solutions" by committee.
In that way, collaboration is often used synonymously with teamwork or
democratic exchange. It shouldn't be. The goal isn't about feeling good; it is about
business results. If people have been heard, have participated in creating solutions
and then know why the business picks one option over another, than we can all
require what Barbara Kellerman appropriately called followership. Leaders still
need to make tough calls and direct the focus. Without both Leadership with the
capital L and Followership with a capital F, all we get is the equivalent of a group
hug and not the results the organization needs.
8. It's hard to know who to praise and who to blame. Collaborative projects are
judged on the outcome, more than the individual efforts than when into them
(which are hard to even measure). Leaders have less visibility into who did
what. If things go right, they worry about rewarding the wrong people. If things
go wrong, they complain about no longer having a single "throat to choke.“
What If The Other Party Doesn’t Want To Collaborate?
It might well be that your analysis of the situation is that it
requires collaboration or compromise but you’re faced with
somebody who just wants to force their way.
If the issue is not important, just let go and be accomodating.
You’ll save time and preserve the relationship.
If the other person has more relative power (your boss, your
client) you might want to be accomodating too.
If the issue and the relationship are important and the other
person does not have more relative power than you… then you
need to convince them to change their attitude. It opens up a
whole new subject: persuasion, which we’ll explore in more
details in another article.
For Discussion Purposes:
Conflict on Spratly Islands. Collaborations between
the nations (Philippines, China, Taiwan, Thailand,
Vietnam) affected are possible?
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