conflict management, model, conflict resolution


Conflict is a natural part of organizational life (e.g., Caudron, 1998; Guttman, 1999; Jameson, 1999; Lippitt, 1982)). Managers struggle daily to effectively manage or resolve conflict (e.g., Cottringer, 1997; Robbins, 1974). As management educators and consultants we found ourselves constantly responding to requests by students and practicing managers for suggestions on how to more effectively deal with conflict. As a response to the many requests, we have developed the 3-D Approach to conflict management and/or resolution. The 3-D approach is based on a framework that enables mangers and students to systematically:

  • diagnose the source, scope and type of conflict
  • describe the dynamics of speed and direction in which the conflict may spread, and
  • determine whether the conflict can be resolved or managed

The 3-D approach is holistic in that it integrates theory along with insights gained from years of consulting with a variety of organizations. Our objective is to provide a comprehensive tool for managers and students to systematically think about conflict management. The framework is designed to deal with conflict situations that occur within organizations and is not intended for dealing with inter-organizational disagreements. In this paper, we will offer an in-depth discussion of the various steps in the 3-D approach along with illustrations from actual organizational situations. In order to ensure privacy and confidentiality, all names and other identities of concerned parties have been changed.

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