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Circle Of Conflict

by Jeff Thompson
April 2009

From Jeff Thompson's Enjoy Mediation Blog

Jeff Thompson

Firstly, my disclaimer is the above image is not mine. I found it a long time ago, and unfortunately I do not remember the source, thus I am unable to give credit. [edit: the circle of conflict was created by Christopher Moore, in this book]
When analyzing conflict it is important to realize that it can be divided into 5 varying catagories depending on its nature. Why bother breaking conflict in catagories and give it labels? It is important, be it as the mediator or neogtiator, to be able to figure out what kind of conflict is present because if the issue(s) can not be diagnosed properly, how do you expect to find a worthy solution?
The five types of conflict are:
  1. Interests
  2. Structural
  3. Value
  4. Data
  5. Relationship

The image is pretty much self-explanatory so no reason for me to blabber on.

Remember, preparation is important when getting ready for a mediation/negotiation, so being able to properly identify the conflict will help you move towards a viable solution. Don't forget, many times the conflict can also be a combination of the categories.

The image can be a great tidbit to add to your presentation or handout; it has worked for me in the past. Sometimes, words, spoken or written, can become boring and adding an image here or there helps liven things up a bit.

Biography


Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University and a law enforcement detective and hostage negotiator.  He also is a researcher, mediator, and trainer.  His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students.  He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law. 

(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions  and not that of any organization.)



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