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Methodology for destructive workplace conflicts: tacit knowledge and theories of change

The project aims at contributing to a more differentiated knowledge about methods for managing destructive workplace conflict. There are well established methods for conflicts where the parties are prepared to stand up for their views. In many cases, however, those involved are reluctant to openly resolve problematic issues because they are unaccustomed to reflection. In such cases, the conflict parties have a tendency to take for granted that they are right and that the other party is wrong and that there is therefore no point in a dialogue. When the parties express themselves, they do so often in the form of blaming. They do not expect that by talking through a situation it is possible to gain new insights that lead towards resolution. What they want is to make it clear to everyone that the other party has done wrong and that themselves are right. If a meeting is conducted, there is a considerable risk is that it is dominated by accusations, blaming, unconditional demands and condemnations. The project will make an inventory of and analyze the tacit knowledge held by experienced practitioners. 12 carefully selected consultants with extensive experience in mediating workplace conflict will be interviewed in two phases. The project is expected to lead to a clearer understanding of approaches to conflict interventions in groups with a weak level of awareness. A typology will be developed which may serve as a toolkit for practitioners, and provide a platform for further systematic study of methods for conflict management.

Project leader: Thomas Jordan

Page Manager: Anders Östebo|Last update: 8/28/2013

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