This list could go on.
In other words, interpersonal and inter-group conflict is a given in any organization. The way in which people respond to conflict can vary greatly, however. In the main, people polarize when they disagree; the greater the disagreement, the more acute the polarization.
A Collaborative Approach to Conflict draws on a number of proven strategies that help people understand conflict and, therefore, provide them with the tools to respond more effectively and creatively when they are involved in a disagreement with others or when they are trying to help others work through their disagreements with one another. As with many of New Context's offerings, clients can draw upon a range of interventions from workshops to customized consulting services to develop these conflict resolution competencies.
One program, Working with Others?--created by New Context's affiliate, Dr. Grady McGonagill - uses tools such as:
This program has been used extensively by one of the world's pre-eminent consulting firms and a range of other public and private sector organizations.
Another program, Learning and Using Model II, was co-designed by Dr. Michael Sales and Dr. Bill Joiner, a New Context affiliate, to introduce participants to an in-depth experience with the ideas of Professors Chris Argyris and Don Schon. Both Sales and Joiner are among the few people who were supervised directly by Argyris while pursuing their doctorates at Harvard.
Model II is a set of values, attitudes and behaviors that lead to a much more open approach to conflict. The focus of Model II training is to learn how to interact with others in conflict situations so that a much higher level of learning results than that which occurs when people polarize or listen to each other without a real willingness to change their own points of view.
Participants are exposure to Model II concepts, such as:
The core of the workshop involves the construction of personal learning cases and discussing them through with colleagues. The personal learning case is a particular tool that helps us become more aware of what we are thinking about and how we are feeling while we are interacting with others in some situation that is important, fairly typical and somewhat stressful. (This personal case method has been written about extensively both by Argyris and Schon and by others, such as Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline.) Many participants in this program have had profound insights into their way of dealing with others and the limits of their own personal effectiveness as a result of using the Personal Learning Case tool.
Members of the New Context network have had extensive experience teaching Model II to executives, consultants, and middle managers in many different organizations. A version of this program that was designed by Michael Sales was used for a number of years by Arthur D. Little, which was once one of the United States' most important consulting firms. Another was used by William M. Mercer, the actuarial company, and another was employed extensively by a software subsidiary of the Chase Manhattan Bank.
On some occasions, New Context may offer clients mediation and arbitration services. New Context seeks to provide these remedies to intense conflict situations in a way that makes a collaborative approach to conflict more likely should there be a subsequent disagreement between the parties.