Collaborating

Uses:

• To find an integrative solution when both sets of concerns are too important to be compromised.

• When your objective is to learn, e.g., testing your own assumptions, understanding the views of others.

• To merge insights from people with different perspectives on a problem.

• To gain commitment by incorporating other's concerns into a consensual decision.

• To work through hard feelings which have been interfering with an interpersonal relationship. If you scored High:

• Do you spend time discussing issues in depth that do not seem to deserve it? (Collaboration takes time and energy - perhaps the scarcest organizational resources. Trivial problems don't require optimal solutions and not all personal differences need to be hashed out. The overuse of collaboration and consensual decision-making sometimes represents a desire to minimize risk by diffusing responsibility for a decision or by postponing action.)

• Does your collaborative behavior fail to elicit collaborative responses from others?

(The exploratory and tentative nature of some collaborative behavior may make it easy for others to disregard collaborative overtures, or the trust and openness may be taken advantage of. You may be missing some cues that indicate the presence of defensiveness, strong feelings, impatience, competitiveness, or conflicting interests.) If you scored Low:

• Is it hard for you to see differences as opportunities for joint gain - as opportunities to learn or solve problems?

(Although there are often threatening or unproductive aspects of conflict, indiscriminate pessimism can prevent you from seeing collaborative possibilities and thus deprive you of the mutual gains and satisfactions which accompany successful collaboration.)

• Are subordinates uncommitted to your decisions or policies? (Perhaps their own concerns are not being incorporated into those decisions or policies.)

4. Compromise : If X has medium level of concern both for himself and the other, then he would take a compromising stance with the attitude of "give and take" and be willing to share the resources so that neither totally wins nor totally loses.

After going through all the above models, the question arises as to whether there is one best mode for conflict resolution? All five modes are suitable for different situations and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. But we have to understand which mode works best in what kind of a situation, keeping in view its drawbacks, so that we can learn to be more flexible in the use of our conflict handling styles to suit the different types of conflict situations.

To some people, the word compromise suggests weakness and lack of commitment to a position. A compromiser may be thought of as a person who puts expediency above principle or who seeks short term solutions at the expense of long term objectives. A compromising style results in each conflict participant sharing in some degree of winning and losing.

It is essential, however, to recognize the potential value of compromise. Compromise is a common and practical approach to conflict management because it often fits the realities of organizational life. This 'fit' occurs when a conflict is not important enough to either party to warrant the time and psychological investment in one of the more assertive modes of conflict management. In addition, compromise may be the only practical way of handling a situation, in which two equally strong and persuasive parties attempt to work out a solution.

Compromise is an expedient mode to settle complex issues in the short run till a more thorough and permanent solution to the problem can be found. This is particularly true, when solutions have to be arrived at under extreme time pressures. It can also be used as a backup mode when both collaboration and competition fail to work effectively in resolving the conflicts.

The Compromising Style is finding a middle ground or forgoing some of your concerns and committing to other's concerns. This style is moderately assertive and moderately cooperative; the goal is to find middle ground. The compromising style is used with issues of moderate importance, when both parties are equally powerful and equally committed to opposing views. This style produces temporary solutions and is appropriate when time is a concern and as a back up for the competing and collaborating styles when they are unsuccessful in resolving the situation. Compromising skills include the ability to communicate and keep the dialogue open, the ability to find an answer that is fair to both parties, the ability to give up part of what you want and the ability to assign value to all aspects of the issue.

Overuse of the compromising style leads to loss of long-term goals, a lack of trust, creation of a cynical environment and being viewed as having no firm values. Overuse of compromise can result in making concessions to keep people happy without resolving the original conflict.

Under use leads to unnecessary confrontations, frequent power struggles and ineffective negotiating.

 
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >