Conflict Resolution Management
Discuss four examples of effective conflict resolution tools that can be used to achieve consensus in real-world projects that have an environmental or sustainability dimension. Pay attention to the cultural as well as the economic aspects of how people differ and agree on issues relating to natural resources, human health and safety, and financial profitability
The past few decades have seen a rising trend in conflicts emanating from various environmental and natural resources concerns. Although some programs or projects are designed with the intentions of improving livelihoods, they can also serve as sources of conflict especially in areas with scarce natural resources. One of the main reasons behind the prevalence of these conflicts is a lack of effective conflict resolution mechanisms. Having effective conflict resolution measures in place ensures that conflicts are dealt with constructively and reduces chance of future conflict escalations (Rahim, 2010). As such, conflict resolution plays a huge role towards promoting sustainability within the society. This discussion explores the different tools that can be used for effective conflict resolution to achieve consensus and understanding in real-world projects with an environmental and sustainability dimension.
One effective conflict resolution tool is collaboration or problem solving which is a method where individuals engaged in a conflict meet to discuss the problem of their conflict with an open mind. Chiu (2004) argues that natural resources are considered to be key assets especially in rural households, mainly because they have direct effect on the food security and overall livelihood of people living in these areas. Chiu (2004) adds that this type of conflict can be an indication that different institutions or policies are not functioning properly in regulating how these natural resources can be utilized without conflict. The collaborative technique assumes that sharing decision-making and authority between conflicting parties will help enhance the resource management process (Chiu, 2004). As such, collaborative management can be viewed as a method that promotes a society’s livelihood and natural resources conservation goals in a manner that is efficient and sustainable. Based on these factors, in real-world projects that have an environmental and sustainability dimension, collaborative arrangements can be used as an innovative and effective conflict resolution tool.
Another tool would be to apply a positive approach in identifying the set goals and issues causing the conflict. In most cases, conflicts associated with the environment and natural-resources management usually result from differing viewpoints on the best methods or technique of utilizing these resources and the environment. Adopting a positive approach in such conflict resolutions is very important because it ensures that warring parties can reach understanding or a shared view point easily and much faster. Rahim (2010) argues that the first step of applying this tool is through building on everyone’s positive values. To explain this concept, Rahim (2010) suggests that the typical scenario that is often used when resoling various types of conflicts begins with problem identification after which the managers attempt to come up with solutions to the identified challenges. However, undertaking this approach means that the conflict resolution task force is likely to put too much focus on solving the difference between members and negative aspects associated with the identified problem, a factor that results in polarized and biased opinion on how to approach the problem. However, the alternative approach would be to identify the positive attributes of the conflict resolution task force meeting such as aiming to conserve resources and the environment (Rahim, 2010). Based on this understanding, adopting a positive approach in identifying the set goals and issues causing the conflict is an effective tool for building understanding and enhancing consensus in conflict resolution.
The third tool is the use of Corporate Social Responsibility or sustainability reports (CSRs) to share a company’s goals and social responsibility actions while undertaking a specific project. Through a CSR report, an organization is able to make public information regarding its actions and commitments in environmental and social areas (Ayub, Greer & Jehn, 2013). Undertaking this approach allows the stakeholders to have a clear understanding of the measures being undertaken to conserve the environment and natural resources during the implement of a given project (Ayub, Greer & Jehn, 2013). The fact that a CSR makes public on a project’s sustainable environmental goals helps to minimize the likelihood of conflict as stakeholders and the general public now have an understanding on the efforts being made to conserve scarce natural resources and the environment. As such, Corporate Social Responsibility or sustainability reports are effective tools that can be used in conflict resolutions bordering on natural resource and environmental conservation.
Finally, force can also be used as a conflict management tool where one side has the authority or means to win regardless of whether it may result in a loss to the other party or damaged personal relationships (Rahim, 2010). Examples where force is applied may include the use of public protests or media campaigns in order to force a specific outcome. Additionally, legal system can also be used to exert force when one party decides to go to court to compel the other party to abide with a specific decision or ruling (Rahim, 2010). As such, in real-world projects that have an environmental and sustainability dimension, force can be used for effective conflict resolution to achieve consensus and understanding.
From the foregoing, the rising trends in conflicts emanating from various environmental and natural resources concerns can resolve through different techniques. For instance, collaborative technique assumes that sharing decision-making and authority between conflicting parties will help enhance the resource management process. Additionally, a positive approach in identifying the set goals and issues causing the conflict can also be applied effectively while CSRs are emerging as effective tools that can be used in conflict resolutions bordering on natural resource and environmental conservation. In situations where other tools have failed, force can be used to compel a particular party to agree to negotiations or abide by a particular action that promotes the overall well being of the society. Having these effective conflict resolution tools in place can help to achieve consensus and understanding in real-world projects with an environmental and sustainability dimension
Ayub, N., Greer, L. L., & Jehn, K. A. (2013). Conflict resolution strategies in managing diversity and conflict. PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi: 10.1037/e571292013-040
Chiu, C.-H. (2004). Evaluating system-based strategies for managing conflict in collaborative concept mapping. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20(2), 124–132. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2004.00072.x
Rahim, M. A. (2010). Functional and Dysfunctional Strategies for Managing Conflict. SSRN Electronic Journal. doi: 10.2139/ssrn.1612886