Review of “Methods of Resolving Interpersonal Conflict”

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Review of “Methods of Resolving Interpersonal Conflict”
Mark R. Long
Morris Graduate School of Management

Review of “Methods of Resolving Interpersonal Conflict”

The article (Burke 1969) describes a number of methods for negotiating and handling conflicts. In this article the author describes both effective and ineffective methods ranging from force to withdrawal. Each method is defined by a number of examples. The most effective technique, Confrontation Problem Solving, is identified and described in terms of its characteristics.

The second best resolution technique defined in Table 1 is Forcing while the worst technique was also Forcing. Forcing was the second best resolution technique under the Effective Resolution column at 24.5%, following the best technique at 58.5% Confrontation Problem Solving. Forcing also was the worst resolution technique at 79.2% under the Ineffective Resolution column. Forcing was seen to be effective by the “winners” of a win-lose conflict. It was seen by “losers” of a win-lose conflict to be ineffective. Forcing is perceived as an effective method of resolving conflict by the victor, but not by the vanquished.

From the first four examples in the text (Burke 1969) the best example is number 4. This example highlighted the fact that through problem solving both parties can benefit. Working through their differences they reached a solution that was optimal to both of them. This created a win-win scenario. With neither side feeling the “victim”, a better resolution was discovered. They can now build on this success to resolve the next problem without any carryover of negative history between the parties.

From the remaining examples in the text (Burke 1969) the worst examples are numbers 5, 6, 7. All three illustrated Forcing as a method of conflict resolution. A win-lose situation is created. In each of the cases the superior prevails over the subordinate. This creates a win-lose situation where only one side perceives...
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