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Conflict Resolutio

The peer-reviewed article “Conflict Resolution Using Cognitive Analysis Approach” by Al-Tabtabai, Alex and Abou-Alfotouch discusses innovative approaches to conflict management within organization stressing that conflict analysis is gaining more and more attention in modern business world as those companies which are aware of ways to manage conflicts have considerable advantage over those companies which often fail to resolve conflicting situations and misunderstanding.

The authors’ main theme is the role of cognitive analysis in conflict management. Cognitive analysis is claimed to be based on the works of human judgment theorists. The authors offer cognitive approach as it is one of the most effective ways to present cognitive differences between parties. The central argument is that cognitive differences are the primary cause of conflicting situations within organizations. Conflicts should be avoided or properly managed as, for example, implementation of megaprojects will be threatened.

Conflict situations are mainly produced by elaborateness of interactions and, therefore, stages of the projects may be delayed or confused. Conflicts appear often because of interpersonal and managerial differences. Of course, interpersonal differences are the result of different cultural values, beliefs, perceptions, and, finally, methods. Managerial differences are attributed to unbalanced views of project goals and objectives, ineffective interpersonal communication, lack of coordination, and different views of project participants. (p. 4-5)

The widely used approaches to conflict management were classified as forcing, withdrawal, smoothing, compromising, and confrontation. All these approached appeared to be inefficient as they had failed to examine the psychological aspects of conflict, in particular, individual differences. Therefore, the authors argue that cognitive differences are the basis of conflict between parties. Human judgment is cognitive process and cognitive analysis tends to solve the difference in cognitive systems rather than to remain oriented on the outcome.

The authors assume that “in this technique, the cues used and the importance attributed to each cue are analyzed to perceive the real conflict that is inherent in the judgment among individuals”. (p. 6) Cognitive approach to conflict analysis offers six steps: to identify the main domain and conflict issues; to generate conflict profiles; to exercise the judgment; to identify judgmental parameters; to communicate cognitive feedback; and to negotiate among conflicting parties.

After a series of researches and investigations it is proved that cognitive analysis should be used for conflict negotiation and resolution. It means that agreement would be achieved considering individual differences of all parties involved in the conflict. Cognitive feedback between management participants and labor union will be helpful as well. The authors conclude that cognitive analysis “helps conflicting parties to gain insight about the tradeoffs among different cues, weights, and function forms, relating cues to judgment and consistency in exercising their judgments”. (p. 16)

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