Sample Case Study on Conflict resolutions in modern view of organizations

NCM 512 Mod 5 Case


Organizational growth is a key element of the modern view of organizations. This growth entails an all-inclusive development in areas of operations of any organization. Such areas of development include organizational politics, change management, democracy and conflict resolution and management (Roberts, 2004). This paper focuses on how organizations have shifted from the old methods of conflict resolutions such as application of dominance rule to application of principled negotiation in conflict resolution and problem solving based on principle negotiation on requirement engineering case scenario.


Principled negotiation has been defined by many scholars to suggest a negotiating approach that is aimed at satisfying the interest of the parties involved as the best way of solving conflicts (Fisher et al, 2011). It is a strategy that ensures that all options available for conflict resolution have been exhausted and thereby eliminating hard bargaining by giving conflict resolution situations a win-win perspective (Zwier, 2013). This process there advocates for four principles of conflict resolution (Fisher et al, 2011).

Separating people on people and not the problem

This is where one purpose to look for the real issues on the ground and focus with the intention of solving them. In the case study, the consultant engaged in understanding how the groups were structured, the differences that existed in terms of computing skills and experience as well as their view about consultants. It the understanding that people are not synonymous with the problems that they are facing such that any effort to solve a problems must be geared towards establishing the exact root cause of the problem. This principle is built on the understanding that several relational issues prevail which affect negotiations as well as mediations. Therefore, negotiation should be designed to appreciate the other person’s perception and emotional status before attempting to solve a problem. Therefore, any rational decision maker should approach a problem without a predefined perception about the other party and trying as much as possible not blame the other person on the problem. The parties should then engage in an objective discussion of each other’s perception in order to arrive at conclusions that are consistent with the self-image of the other party. This gives both parties a sense of satisfaction through reconciliation of perspectives. This further enhances the acceptability of the proposals being made. This is especially applicable where good communication exists between the negotiation parties. Such good and effective communication is what that that ensures effective flow of information thus ensuring the effectiveness and applicability of principled negotiation (Zwier, 2013).

A focus on the interests as opposed to positions

From the case study, focusing on the interests of the negotiating parties, the EH client groups and the prospective suppliers meant establishing a common ground between the two negotiating parties. Such common interests included the need for a computerized system as well as the urgency of the matter especially with the support from the government to fund such projects. There were also the benefits that would accrue the decision of working together in the system specification process. Once established, every action and decisions during meetings were made with a clear understanding in mind of what were the interests and the expectations of all parties.

This principle of negotiation calls for a very clear awareness of what both parties need and want, which could be very different from what they actually say. This is very important especially where multiple conflicting interests face the parties but still there is availability of compatible interests. By offering very specific details about their interests, negotiating parties ensure that such interests which act as the terms of reference are more concrete and credible hence parties are moved to pursue them knowing that they are going to benefit from the outcome. This is further enhanced by ensuring an environment of freedom of expression exists and there is a general respect for other people opinions and interests.

Invention of options for mutual gain

This is another technique that went a long way in ensuring that the application of principled negotiation was a success in conflict resolution. In the case study, it was made clear about the position of the company, what were the requirements and its expectations. This saw the EH client group and the suppliers change their position for example through offers of flexible requirements as well as use of already existing capacity. For example, the requirement to select the same supplier for the EH Groups was not only a good bargain for the Groups but also for the supplier who found it rather easier dealing with coordinated groups as opposed to individual site. This method could enhance principled negotiation especially where common grounds cannot be established (Lewis & Spich 1996). It would therefore be prudent to create goals/objectives aside from the existing ones in such a way that those goals favor both parties of negotiation. By availing such alternative options that pose mutual benefits, parties will be willing to suppress their initial demands and engage in mutual gain.

Insist on Objective Criteria

In the case study, the consultant was able to ensure effective principled negotiation by establishing well in advance the selection criteria. Those entailed comprehensive requirements specifications. Such a straightforward understanding of standards expected such as the minimum requirements and specifications would then establish a benchmark for objective negotiation and bargaining thus making the process somewhat simple for both parties. This method is further enhanced where adequate information about such negotiations and dealing in the outside environment is availed. The effect of this is that both negotiating parties remain within the bounds of rationality and objectivity (Lewis & Spich 1996).

Applicability of principles of principled negotiation in other environments

The principle presented here are universally applicable in all areas of life.

Application in management

are highly applicable where an employee-management relationship exists for example in a company. Conflicts will arise in the normal course of business and such have to be settled amicably. The conflict resolution strategy employed by the management determines the success of the business. When dealing with conflicts, managers should therefore consider the emotional state of the employees and should be slow at judging or passing blame before proper investigations of the root cause of such a problem (Crocker et al, 2011). They should also focus on the interests of the employees in order to have their welfare at heart in all decisions that they make. In some cases, managers should be creative and objective in designing grounds for mutual benefit as the negotiation base (Crocker et al, 2011). They should also understand the external environment and practices in the industry that may be necessitating the employees to behave or react in certain ways. Such issues include minimum wages and other employment benefits (Lens, 2004).

Application in institution of learning

Several conflicts also arise in learning institution where the students’ body and the management are divergent in their demands (Deutsch et al, 2011). As such, principles of negotiation would be applicable as the officials of the schools try to resolve conflicts without necessarily causing mayhem amongst the students. For example, where the students are against the idea of appointment of students into the senate by the administration, they could reach a common ground where they are allowed to choose their own leaders but such choices are subject to the approval by the administration (Lens, 2004).












Crocker, C. A., Hampson, F. O., & Aall, P. (2011). Collective conflict management: a new formula for global peace and security cooperation? International Affairs, 87(1), 39-58.

Deutsch, M., Coleman, P. T., & Marcus, E. C. (Eds.). (2011). The handbook of conflict resolution: Theory and practice. John Wiley & Sons.

Fisher, R., Ury, W. L., & Patton, B. (2011).Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in. Penguin.

Lewis, L. F., & Spich, R. S. (1996, January). Principled negotiation, evolutionary systems design, and group support systems: a suggested integration of three approaches to improving negotiations. In System Sciences, 1996., Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth Hawaii International Conference on, (Vol. 3, pp. 238-250). IEEE.

Lens, V. (2004). Principled negotiation: A new tool for case advocacy. Social Work, 49(3), 506-513.

Roberts, J. (2004). The modern firm: Organizational design for performance and growth. Oxford University Press.

Zwier, P. J. (2013). Principled negotiation and mediation in the international arena: talking with evil. Cambridge University Press.