Case Studies Conflict Management Decision Making

Case Studies Conflict Management Decision Making-70
” The communication professor replied, “very much; but I only know about environmental issues as a layperson.” The forestry professor, who was fielding phone calls about forest management controversies, responded, “that's OK, I don't need a person well-steeped in forest and environmental policy, I need to work with someone who understands conflict.” In that conversation a partnership between two professors—one from communication and one from forestry—was born.

” The communication professor replied, “very much; but I only know about environmental issues as a layperson.” The forestry professor, who was fielding phone calls about forest management controversies, responded, “that's OK, I don't need a person well-steeped in forest and environmental policy, I need to work with someone who understands conflict.” In that conversation a partnership between two professors—one from communication and one from forestry—was born.As the professors continued their watering hole conversations, they discovered a shared interest natural resource and environmental policy decision making, particularly the ways in which citizens were (and were not) involved in those decisions.Decision making and conflict management styles bear significant role in organizational settings.

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For much of the past three decades, when environmental or natural resource conflicts have emerged, diverse parties (government agencies, stakeholder organizations, and citizens) have often sought an alternative to adversarial battles.

They have turned to collaboration, and in so doing, have attempted to work through conflicts to find common ground and make sound decisions.

The Oregon State University professors met during a period of intense environmental conflict in the Pacific Northwest, particularly involving habitat for the Spotted Owl (Daniels and Walker, 2012).

They noted that three factors characterized environmental conflicts, such as those involving the Endangered Species Act (e.g., the Spotted Owl): complexity, controversy, and uncertainty.

The field studies have shown that supervisors who use an integrating style achieved more behavioral compliance with their requests (Rahim & Buntzman, 1990).

Obliging style involves low concern for self and high concern for others.

And in so doing their experiences have given rise to the development of “best practices” for conducting collaborative work.

This essay considers three sets of best practices for collaboration and compares those practices with the “best practices” that the authors have determined from their 27 years of Collaborative Learning fieldwork.

When insights from Collaborative Learning projects are combined with a collective set of best practices, 18 areas emerge to guide collaborative efforts.

In 1991, a forestry professor contacted a communication professor to ask about a course in “conflict management” that the communication professor was teaching.

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