Sources of Conflict

When planning a public dialogue, you need to analyze the core sources and degree of actual or potential conflict.  There are 5 core sources of disputes:  these are differences in Values, Information, Interests, or understanding of Relationship, and flaws in Structure (or systems).  The more of these elements that are present in any given dispute, the more difficult that dispute is to resolve.  If you happen to be in a dispute that is rooted in the rules or processes of a given situation, for example, it will not be solved by providing more data or information. The failure to think about those structures could mean all your efforts to build consensus within that system are doomed to fail.  Conversely, if a dispute is rooted in one area, like different interests, yet there are strengths in another area such as strong relationships, you may be able to build a foundation for successful dialogue by focusing first on the common area.  Thus in analyzing each of the five areas (Values, Information, Interests, Relationships, and Structure) for planning purposes, you are looking for both strengths and weaknesses.  We can help. For more information see http://www.buildingdialogue.com.

6 responses to “Sources of Conflict

  1. So often a dispute seems difficult because the affected parties don’t have a common idea of what the problem is, or what the cause of it is. Looking at the situation with each side, from the point of view of these five areas, would be a great help in getting people to talk about the same things rather than talk past each other.

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