Singson & Whittamore

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Conflict Management2
Which approach to choose to resolve dispute?9
Guidelines during Mediation Process11
Sample Agreement12


This conflict has various components:
* The Whittamores' relationship with each other.
* Their relationship to other staff members at the clinic. * The potential conflict between Andrew Whittamore's patients and the clinic. * The relationship between Andrew Whittamore and Richard Singson. This report will analyse the conflict between Richard Singson and Andrew Whittamore and the various means of resolution that exist.

Conflict Management
People in conflict have a number of procedural options to choose from to resolve their differences. Disagreements and problems can arise in almost any relationship. The majority of disagreements are usually handled informally. Initially, people may avoid each other because they dislike the discomfort that accompanies conflict, they do not consider the issue to be that important, they lack the power to force a change, they do not believe the situation can be improved, or they are not yet ready to negotiate. When avoidance is no longer possible or tensions become so strong that the parties cannot let the disagreement continue, they usually resort to informal problem-solving discussions to resolve their differences. This is probably where the majority of disagreements end in daily life. Either they are resolved, more or less to the satisfaction of the people involved, or the issues are dropped for lack of interest or inability to push through to a conclusion. In the Singson-Whittamore case, the Whittamores avoided dealing with their potential conflict with the medical clinic until it was clear that Andrew was going to leave. At that point, Andrew initiated informal discussions, but they failed to reach an acceptable conclusion. Clearly, their problem had escalated into a dispute. A disagreement becomes a dispute "only when the two parties are unable and/or unwilling to resolve their disagreement; that is, when one or both are not prepared to accept the status quo (should that any longer be a possibility) or to accede to the demand or denial of demand by the other. A dispute is precipitated by a crisis in the relationship." People involved in a conflict that has reached this level have a variety of ways to resolve their differences. They can pursue more formal and structured means of voluntarily reaching an agreement, resort to third-party decision makers, or try to leverage or coerce each other to reach a settlement.

Other than informal conversations, the most common way to reach a mutually acceptable agreement is through negotiation. Negotiation is a bargaining relationship between parties who have a perceived or actual conflict of interest. The participants voluntarily join in a temporary relationship designed to educate each other about their needs and interests, to exchange specific resources, or to resolve less tangible issues such as the form their relationship will take in the future or the procedure by which problems are to be solved. Negotiation is clearly an option for Whittamore and Singson, although the degree of emotional and substantive polarization will make the process difficult.

If negotiations are hard to initiate or have started and reached an impasse, the parties may need some assistance from a party who is outside of the dispute. Mediation is an extension or elaboration of the negotiation process that involves the intervention of an acceptable third party who has limited (or no) authoritative decision-making power. This person assists the principal parties to voluntarily reach a mutually acceptable settlement of the issues in dispute. As with negotiation, mediation leaves the decision-making power primarily in the hands of the people in conflict. Mediation is a voluntary process in that the participants must be...
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