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In their book ‘Leading in the heat of conflict’1, Michael Maccoby and Tim Scudder identify a five step process for conflict management. Its component activities have many parallels in P3 management.
Anticipating is almost synonymous with planning and P3 managers spend a lot of time planning. During the identification process and definition process a lot of time is spent on trying to anticipate potential sources of conflict and either eliminate or reduce them. This should hopefully reduce the incidence of conflict as identified by Thamhain and Wilemon.
Functions such as requirements management and stakeholder management sift out many potential sources of conflict and develop plans to deal with them. Risk management is also a key function here since it will also identify potential sources of conflict and develop a range of responses. All this contributes to Maccoby and Scudder’s prevention activity.
No amount of planning will remove all sources of conflict and the management team must use both control techniques and empathy to identify obvious technical and subtle human, emerging conflict.
The management of conflict draws upon principles such as Furlong’s and skills such as communication, negotiation and influencing in the context of a manager’s personal style as identified by the Thomas-Kilmann model.
Resolution must involve confirming what has been agreed to all parties and updating future plans to reflect the solution.
In effect, Maccoby and Scudder’s procedure is implicit in many of P3 management functions and processes.
- Maccoby, M., & Scudder, T. (2011). Leading in the heat of conflict