Dispute Management Principles

Dispute

Papercheap has already discussed the general lore about criticism in the previous article.

Today we are talking about the principles of dispute management you need to know. These principles:

  • Allow you to prepare for a dispute better;
  • Organize and mobilize you to win a dispute;
  • Allow you to correctly and logically argue and consistently defend your position;
  • Teach you to consider advantages and be tolerant of the shortcomings of your opponents;
  • Orient you to using your advantages and overcome your shortcomings.

If you ever need to write an assignment about disputes, first start with defining the very notion of it. It does not matter what wiki or any other “reputable” source says, you should explain your own vision of it.

So, what principles should be remembered in a discussion?

The principle of preliminary preparation for a dispute. In accordance with this principle, preliminary preparation allows you not only to come up with logical arguments but also to foresee the course of a dispute, to collect and comprehend some initial information.

The principle of tolerance towards opponents. The thing is that they have the right to their opinion, just like you do. They also strive for finding the truth. But the methods of searching for it can be correct on both sides.

The principle of consistent analysis of alternatives. As a rule, practically any problem or task has several possible approaches, methods of solution. However, not all approaches, ways of solving problems are equally optimal. Depending on conditions, goals, or means, two different ways can serve the truth to different extents.

Moreover, by disclosing and challenging different approaches, we often make essential mistakes in the very process of seeking the truth. The same is true for our opponents. That is why we put forward the principle of a consistent analysis of alternatives in the process of a dispute.

The principle of the correct conduct of a dispute. This is one of the basic principles of disputes and negotiations. The more correct your judgments and actions are, the more likely you are to get a decent victory over your opponent.

The principle of "removal" in the process of a dispute. It has long been noted that a dispute is won not only by erudition and argumentation but, first of all, by the ability to observe the course of a discussion from the outside, see it as an entity, and to correct mistakes in the process, rising above personal interests and overcoming psychological barriers.

"Removal" means an unexpectedly new direction of judgments and actions that can be used by some participants in a dispute. These are reasonable and creative people.

The principle of overcoming psychological barriers in a dispute. It should be noted that there is a number of false internal attitudes and states, without overcoming which the effectiveness of your arguments reduces. This can be, for example, an indication that the opponent is prepared better than you and, therefore, is stronger than you. Or it may be a fear to act worse than your opponent, which holds you back and hinders your rational judgments and actions.

The principle of gradual progress towards the truth. The essence of this method lies in the fact that the effectiveness of a dispute and the progress towards the truth directly depend on how well the stages of dispute management and alternative approaches to the solution of a problem are identified. Each of the alternatives should clearly articulate the arguments "for" and "against" a certain approach to the solution of a problem.

The principle of gradual progress towards the truth in the process of conducting a dispute presupposes the following stages:

  • Introductory information. An initiator of the meeting, who organizes a discussion, informs the participants about a problem, goals, and the very situation that needs a discussion.
  • Argumentation of the parties. Each of the parties, having its own position and its own point of view on the solution of a problem, expresses and reasonably substantiates its point of view.
  • Passing judgments. The disputing parties act as an opponents and express critical judgments and doubts, defending their position.
  • Active confrontation between the parties. It implies the continuation of a discussion, the search for additional arguments, and the interaction between all those who wish to participate in a dispute. It also covers counter-argumentation and comparison of alternatives.
  • Search for compromising solutions to a problem. At this stage, each of the parties must make acceptable concessions, which mean partial refusal of their initial positions and the active revision of these positions. All possible solutions to a problem are analyzed and compared.
  • Search for an acceptable solution. It means active search and generalization of all constructive and positive things that were expressed in the process of a discussion. At this stage points of contact are monitored, initially opposing positions are converging, and mutually acceptable solutions are developed.
  • The conclusion of a dispute, generalization of results. At this stage, results of a dispute are summed up. The parties decide on what has been achieved during the discussion and how to bring it into life.

The principle of respect for an opponent. Real freedom of opinions and judgments presupposes a high culture of conducting discussions and disputes. So, each party must have a respectful attitude to its opponent. Thoughts and judgments should be contrasted with more convincing, more demonstrative judgments and thoughts, avoiding any insulting attacks.

The principle of reasoned constructive criticism. When criticizing the opponent of our point of view, we cannot limit ourselves only discovering faults and mistakes. It is necessary to express constructive suggestions, look for new approaches or ways to solve a problem. In other words, criticism should include not a bare denial but constructive suggestions and alternatives.

About Aggression During a Dispute

Aggression

That might be the topic of completely different college paper, so here’s the excerpt for you. We can surely write more should you need it.

Speaking about a dispute and criticism in it, one cannot help but consider the problem of aggression and stress of its participants. It can often be observed that people who step on the path of a conflict are experiencing changes in their behavior. But these changes are really difficult to notice.

But why does neither of the conflicting parties try to pay attention to them and take steps to localize aggressive behavior of the opponent? Why, on the contrary, do they choose to behave in a combative way, when trying to solve a conflict?

There are several reasons for this.

Firstly, many believe that the correct form of responding to an aggressive partner’s behavior is reciprocal aggression. That is if the response is not combative, then an opponent may consider this as a manifestation of weakness and uncertainty.

Secondly, the problem may lie in self-doubt and lack of confidence in rightness. In this case, we see an attempt to use a similar, aggressive, strategy of behavior as camouflage. In addition, some people who experience uncertainty try to encourage themselves to support the discussion at the expense of aggressive behavior.

Thirdly, aggression may force you to remember everything bad about your opponent (however irrational that seems) and criticize him or her at a “personal”, not professional, level. Experience shows that going too personal during a conflict promises no improvement of a situation but makes it worse, without even leaving any chance for forgiveness.

Fourthly, aggressive behavior can indicate that an opponent is simply bad-natured and ill-mannered.

Finally, this behavior can be a result of so-called reactive thinking, developing under the influence of a strong stimulus. This type of thinking blocks the possibility to adequately assess a situation, control oneself, and stay aware of what is happening.

How can one continue a discussion in such a state? Will it lead to any positive result? What will happen to one’s health if one constantly uses this strategy of behavior?

The most important thing in this situation is to remain calm. Psychologists state that calmness is crucial in critical situations. But they give hardly any practical and acceptable recommendations for how to develop this. Basically, this is the principle "Do you want to be calm? Then just be calm!"

Others offer rather bulky and, unfortunately, far not always effective methods of self-discipline, development of which takes quite a long time.

However, there is some methods that can help to calm down quickly enough and take control of a conflict situation. We will talk about it in the following articles.

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