Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Do as you teach. This principle reflects the need for an attitude or culture supportive of the objectives of conflict management and resolution along with the implementation of programs and processes. Liaisons were instructed that to be successful in implementing the Initiative, they must demonstrate a commitment to the basic concepts of ADR as they follow the steps previously outlined.
No two conflict management systems are alike. What works for one institution may not work for another. It is important to understand the environment and needs of the institution to devise the most appropriate program. This principle reflects the importance of performing an in-depth assessment.
Users should design it. The best way to encourage participants’ commitment to a process is to involve them in the design of the process. Stakeholders who help create a system give it "buy-in" and are more likely to use and promote the system.
Plan before you act. Different conflict resolution tools are best suited to address different types of issues or challenges. Before “leaping” into the implementation of a specific type of program, it is important to determine what you want the program to achieve.
Experiment and be creative. There are no rules about the ways in which ADR can be used to prevent and address conflict. The objective is to examine all the alternatives and determine which combination will work best for your particular situation.
Cultivate a pool of resources. ADR liaisons and committees should not feel that they must become experts on all aspects of conflict resolution. Expertise exists both within and outside the University System of Georgia. Liaisons should establish networks and linkages to take advantage of available resources. It also helps to have the synergy of others to create forward momentum.
Key decision-makers should be on board. Without the support of key decision-makers, the best program will not succeed. It is critical to include these stakeholders early in the process to cultivate their commitment and support.
Recognize conflict. Some institutions argue that there is no conflict on their campus because they do not hear about it or see it on a day-to-day basis. Others are concerned that by providing informal mechanisms for addressing conflict, they will increase the number of conflicts that are raised. This principle encourages those institutions to recognize that conflict exists, whether overtly or not, and that by addressing it in an informal manner, before it becomes an issue for the formal channels, they will do themselves a service in the long run.
Be realistic, be patient. Change of any sort is slow and difficult. Do not expect too much, too soon. Devise a detailed implementation plan and measure results in a realistic manner, recognizing that it will take time for them to materialize.
Commit the necessary resources. Institutional resources are scarce, but committing them up front to develop ways to resolve disputes more efficiently and effectively will save resources in the future.
Review and improve. Continuous improvement is crucial for any program to be successful over the long term. This principle reflects the importance of the evaluation step. Inclusion of methods for integrating necessary improvements makes the conflict resolution system a “living process” consistently cycling through all of the design steps.
- Emphasize the prevention aspect of conflict management. Preventing foreseeable conflict can be more useful than resolving conflict that has already occured.
- Promote diversity in teaching methods. Teaching from different aspects is as important as approaching conflict from different perspectives.
- Add CM education to curriculum. Incorporating conflict management into your classes helps create a culture of conflict management on campus.
- Include institutional incentives to make use of CM. Positive reinforcement of utilizing CM methods, perhaps in performance appraisals or other forms, promotes its' use.
- Incorporate the whole university community. Students, faculty, administrators, staff, families and communities outside the campus can all benefit from CM in their lives.