How do you conduct conflict resolution talks?

This checklist helps you prepare for conflict resolution meetings to cover all aspects of the conflict.

Matter in dispute

  • To what extent do the parties know the issues of the other side?
  • How are they, in the experience of the parties, interconnected?
  • How strongly are the parties focused on the topics?
  • Do the matters in dispute relate more to the matter at hand or to the personal level?

Conflict progress

  • How did the conflict arise?
  • How did the conflict develop?
  • How is the conflict maintained?
  • What do the conflict parties experience as critical moments in the course of the conflict?

Conflict parties

  • Who is involved in the conflict? (individuals, groups)
  • Who are the key figures of the conflict parties?
  • What is the relationship between the representatives and their own backgrounds?
  • Are the parties clearly delineated from each other?
  • What roles are there within the conflict parties?

Positions and relationships

  • What formal and informal positions do the individual parties take?
  • What sanctions do the parties use to achieve the behaviour that meets their expectations?
  • What has each party done to break out of this pressure of expectation?
  • Can behaviour patterns be observed at meetings between the parties which do not occur when dealing with other persons or groups?

The parties’ attitude to the conflict

  • How do the parties perceive their overall situation?
  • Do the parties generally regard conflicts as undesirable and harmful or as positive, as an impulse for social change?
  • How do the parties to the conflict assess the hoped-for results and the commitment required to achieve them?
  • What attitudes do the parties have to the previous attempts at conflict resolution or to the existing conflict regulators?

The organization as conflict potential

  • Is the core task of the organisation clear?
  • Are there guiding principles, strategies and programmes with which the general goals and values can be concretised?
  • To what extent are corporate policy and strategy accepted?
  • Are the different organizational units clear for the employees?
  • What is the meaning of power, status, prestige, career?
  • What is characteristic of the working atmosphere?
  • How does the organization take into account the development interests of its employees?
  • Which mutual or one-sided dependencies result from the tasks and distribution of competences?
  • How do people accept that?
  • How are the processes planned and controlled?
  • What dependencies result from this?
  • How do people feel about it?
  • Where do the physical means require a separation, where it should not be for operational reasons?

Attempts at conflict regulation that have already been undertaken

  • Why are/have the existing conflict regulators not been used?
  • What are the benefits of the conflict for the parties?
  • What do they expect from a continuation of the confrontation?
  • What do they think they’ll lose if they communicate with the enemy?
  • What kind of mission are you ready for?
  • Are they determined to accept psychological tensions in order to arrive at a fundamental clarification of the situation?
  • What attitudes do the parties have to the previous attempts at conflict resolution or to the existing conflict regulators?
  • What have the parties themselves already done to work constructively on the conflict?
  • How have these efforts at conflict resolution affected the further course of the conflict?
  • Do the parties to the conflict regard the conflict as solvable, or have they lost all hope?
  • Do they actively or passively stand by their conflict?

Source: Glasl, Konfliktmanagement, Verlag Freies Geistesleben, 9. AL. 2009, further developed by Coverdale Austria