1. Please identify and describe the 5 conflict handling modes as set forth in the Thomas-Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument. In doing so be sure to set forth under what circumstances each might be appropriately used and the potential ramifications of using them too often or too little.
The Thomas-Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument is used to judge how well someone responds to the presence or possibility of conflict. The five conflict handling modes of the Thomas-Kilman Instrument work around two chief attributes: cooperativeness and assertiveness - in essence, all of the modes deal directly with how hard an individual works to make sure his concerns are alleviated when presented with the concerns of the offending or offended party.
1) Competing - In this mode, the individual is extremely confident and assertive in order to get things done. When an individual's conflict strategies include competition, they tend to work at the expense of the other person in order to be victorious over them in particular situations. This is the 'win-lose' strategy of conflict resolution, which involves the assertion of your own goals at the expense of what the other person wants - whoever wins, the other person does not. This mode is used by individuals who are certain they are correct, and when the concern is important enough the person feels they can override the needs of the other person. While this may give you personal success, you may be perceived as hard to deal with or be around if the strategy is used too much. On the other hand, if you are not competitive enough, it is easy for others to successfully compete against you. Here, you are being assertive, but not cooperative.
2) Collaborating - This is the ideal approach to take, as it provides both parties with what they want. In collaboration, both parties work together amicably to make room for everyone's concerns and thoughts. This is frequently used in situations where both people involved have ideas that are too vital to be discounted in any way. While this does demand a great deal of trust and good faith on the part of both parties, and takes much more time than most other strategies, you are being cooperative and assertive at the same time by doing this.
3) Compromising - This scenario is similar to collaboration in that both parties work together to resolve the conflict, but this time both parties give up something that prevents them from being totally satisfied. In these situations, the goal is usually not important enough to merit a lot of time or stress, and so compromising occurs to end the problem quickly. These solutions work mostly in the short term, and often do not last long; however, if you do not used them much you might be perceived as competitive and uncaring of others' concerns.
4) Accommodating. In this approach, instead of looking out for only your interests (as with competing), you defer to the other party to take the lead and implement their ideas. While your desires are countermanded, and you work against your own interests, you typically do this because the other person is an expert, and their possible solution might actually be the ideal one. In this situation, the individual is cooperative but not assertive; if you are too accommodating, that can be used to take advantage of you, and if you are not accommodating enough you may be perceived as hard to work with.
5) Avoiding - This mode occurs when the individual is neither cooperative nor assertive; the issue is not addressed at all, and the other person is not allowed to meet their goal. The conflict is completely ignored, holding the issue back and refusing to engage with it. In the view of the avoider, the effort it would take to address the conflict is much more than is acceptable. When overused, avoiding makes it harder to skirt issues in the future, and problems are not solved. If someone does not avoid enough, however, it may rush those looking for answers, and imperfect solutions might be reached.
2. What three (and only three) points of advice would you give your best friend facing a negotiation? Or, stated differently, set forth how you would describe to your best friend the Getting To Yes model of negotiations knowing that he or she has not and will not read the book. In any event, be as specific as possible.
Using the Getting to Yes model of negotiation, three negotiation principles are used to achieve goals, each lined up with a particular problem that people in a negotiation context usually encounters. By using the strategies to deal with the obstacles, a successful negotiation can be reached. These principles include 1) Establishing distance between the problem and the individual; 2) looking at interests instead of positions on an issue; and 3) Coming up with several options and picking the one that works best.
When these negotiations are going on, it is important for everyone involved to be equally engaged in every part of the process. For the most part, Getting to Yes starts by looking at the conflict at hand, as well as the interests of each individual, and the options available to them. Once those are established, an agreement can be reached to respond to the problem in the ways available.
1) Keeping People and Conflicts Separate
One of the biggest issues that happen in conflicts is the conflation of ego with a position on the issue; this can lead to people perceiving the taking of opposing positions as a personal attack. In order to be as productive and avoid personal aggression whenever possible, separating the issues from the person is necessary. The problem can get obfuscated by attacking the individual instead of the problem itself.
There are many different kinds of problems that can come from personal attacks and feelings; one is the possibility and the assumption that the other party will do something that makes them personally fearful. Personal blame being attributed to the other person done out of insecurity and worry is counterproductive; it is important for individuals to look at the situation from the other person's perspective. This is what creates ideal solutions that benefit everyone involved.
Emotions and aggression are problems that occur when the issues are not separated from the person. Frustration with the process can lead to actions and words from one person toward the other that they may not mean, or come from a place of fear. It is vital to control one's emotions during the process; this is done through recognizing and respecting the other party's right to be there. Be open about your emotions and how they will play in the negotiation. Often, even when feelings are unreasonable they can show up in negotiations; it is vital to know that both parties can have those unreasonable emotions. The other party has to be able to express their feelings as well if both parties are to have an equal playing field.
Communication is a huge source of people-related issues; misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions can lead to problems in negotiation. Listeners have to be able to completely pay attention to the other party, and can verify to the speaker that they are listening. Listening does not mean you have to agree with them, but then you know what they are talking about and will avoid unnecessary attacks and emotional appeals.
2) Interest-Centric Focus
When a negotiation is productive, the positions of each party are ignored in favor of what they are interested in. In the book, it is made clear that our interests are what make us come to a decision; 'win-lose' situations occur when negotiations are framed by what positions the parties have. In negotiation, you need to find out what the parties' interests are so that they can be met; this will lead to satisfactory agreements.
3) Find the Best of Several Options
Four things can prevent people from creating innovative ways to address issues. First, options may be narrowed too soon, focusing on a single answer. Secondly, the option could be considered before negotiation starts, which makes listening to alternatives more difficult. Thirdly, there is often the assumption that someone has to 'win' and one has to 'lose' in a negotiation. Finally, one party may think that the solution must come from the other party, stifling the consideration of options.
There are also four techniques the authors state to deal with these obstacles and improve their ability to find innovative options. By separately inventing options before evaluating them, the process becomes much more informal and amicable - the parties could create innovative solutions to their problems. Four kinds of thinking should inform the brainstorming process: 1) establishing the problem; 2) analyzing it; 3) looking at overall, general frameworks for solutions; 4) looking at detailed action items to address solution. Once the proposals are figured out, ideas are evaluated for acceptability and effectiveness.
Provided the parties focus on interest-based solutions, finding a win-win situation should be much easier. Proposals have to be met with interest by the other party in order to make
the agreement process easier. It is vital to figure out who is making the decisions; if the parties involved have different interests, finding the solution that closest matches what interests do match is important as well.
3. Please compare and contrast distributive or competitive with integrative or interest-based bargaining
With integrative bargaining, both parties work together to find the ideal win-win solution through collaboration or some other kind of resolution. In essence, integrative bargaining strips the conflict down to the mutual interests and benefits that would work best for both parties. The interests of each parties are integrated, turning two opposing sides into one side attempting to find a cooperative solution. With interest-based bargaining, both parties end up happy, with neither party getting the short end of the stick. By collaborating on a solution, no party is stuck with compromise, making it easy for everyone involved to find their ideal solution.
Integrative bargaining creates the highest probability for a win-win situation in conflict resolution, as the interests of everyone involved are considered. Asking questions and interrogating the other party to find those interests is important, as that helps both parties to find solutions that meet their needs.
This is opposed to distributive bargaining; in this scenario, both parties end the negotiation with one side gaining the advantage (win-lose). Here, parties believe that one party can acquire a greater piece of what advantage is available; the rewards of the negotiation are a zero-sum game, and both parties are attempting to get a higher distribution of the reward. Most distributive bargaining arrangements end in either no agreement or a compromise; often both parties are not totally satisfied, just getting some of their needs met.
It is possible to actually use both types of bargaining in a negotiation; distributive bargaining is inherently a component of integrative bargaining. With integrative bargaining, both parties work together to make the largest pie possible so both parties can benefit. However, with distributive bargaining, each party fights for a bigger piece of the pie. Integrative bargaining permits positive results for both parties, while distributive bargaining involves a clear winner and loser.