Bulls n' Bears

Discerning constructive and destructive Development of Conflicts

Discerning constructive and destructive development of conflicts when they happen permits negotiators to seize these changes as they happen. Progress toward solving a problem or getting to the root cause of a conflict are constructive developments in conflicts.

Destructive developments in conflicts drive the parties apart or worsen the situation. Recognizing destructive developments allow negotiators to attempt to mitigate them or prevent the situation from worsening. Constructive developments can be seized and encouraged.

Types of constructive developments in conflicts:

•    Willingness to discuss root causes
•    Willing to meet after a prior refusal to do so
•    Transitioning from big pictures toward details
•    Acknowledging mistakes
•    Admitting partial blame for oneself
•    Recognizing prior bias
•    Agreeing to disagree and accepting that the other party has a right to different views, values and goals
•    Requesting mediation when the person realizes they cannot solve it themselves, in essence taking a constructive step to solving the conflict
•    Bringing in translators or technical experts to facilitate understanding when there was prior  confusion
•    Adding those with decision making authority to the negotiation process


Types of destructive developments in conflicts:

•    Loss of trust
•    Lying to another party
•    Withholding key information
•    Switching from a collaborative negotiating style to an abrasive one
•    Using another language to discuss matters to the deliberate exclusion of someone present
•    Assigning blame
•    Minimizing a legitimate problem
•    Using name calling
•    Personal insults
•    Threats of any type
•    Violence or implied violence of any type
•    Passive aggressive resistance, when there was none before, such as scheduling meetings at times someone is known to be unavailable or on vacation
•    Placing demands on the other party that are unreasonable
•    Blackmail
•    Demanding bribes, kickbacks or another illegal act be committed in order to seal a deal or for negotiations to continue
•    Deliberate neglect of tasks or assigned duties, such as failing to process requests for quotes or fill out surveys on their opinion of the matter