The Participation Blog

Executing an Effective Conflict Resolution Strategy

Effective Conflict ResolutionConflict resolution strategies and conflict resolution techniques aren’t very difficult to understand, but they’re often challenging to implement because of our own egos. Sometimes this means we’re sweeping problems under the rug or downplaying the situation at hand–even covering it up. However, executing an effective conflict resolution strategy means we acknowledge and agree on the problems that exist, and then conduct solid, objective, joint fact-finding missions.

The consequence of doing the opposite–of ‘gaming’ that process–has been news the past few days. Nutrition debates back in the ’60s looked at the connections among fat, sugar, and heart disease. Harvard experts, at the time, argued against the role that sugar played in coronary problems. Turns out, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has found documents that show a sugar industry trade group initiated and paid for the studies, reviewed drafts, and laid out a clear objective to protect sugar’s reputation in the public eye. It certainly was not the first time there was an agenda to skew consumers’ opinions and it certainly won’t be the last.

Conflict Resolution Techniques That Can’t Be Bought

The evidence strongly suggests that funding bias or sponsorship bias is real. And it’s not necessarily because the researchers are dishonest – although that certainly can be true, as in this case – it’s because research is frequently subjective and researchers can unintentionally find results that their sponsors or clients can, at least, live with. Manipulating data to skew results is an ethical quandary all its own and a topic for another day.

Effective conflict resolution activities should include ways for all parties to agree on getting to the truth through joint fact-finding. And establishing the rules of that fact-finding takes work, careful planning and effective facilitation.  Laying this foundation for working together–with the guidance of experts when needed–makes it easier to accomplish a common goal.