chunking up to resolve a dispute

An organization without any kind of dispute is as imaginary as a unicorn. Every organization has to face them at some point, so read on to find how to resolve disputes at work.

People have differences in opinion and perception; put them under work pressure for 48 hours a week with continuous complaints of missing food and missiles of loud telephone conversations, and a squabble is bound to flare up among them.
Analyze why instead of what

With considerable experience in training people, Mr. Sanam Chitrakar has always been interested in negotiation. According to him, there are two methods of resolving disputes in an organization: the chunk up and the chunk down approaches. The chunk up approach is the most effective one as it focuses on finding out why the dispute has been created instead of wondering what type of dispute it is. Finding the root cause of the conflict makes it easier to find an appropriate solution for it. The chunk down approach on the other hand is the least effective as it is mainly concerned with what the problem is. So, focus on finding the answers to the “whys” rather than finding out what caused it.

Good intentions
Employees working together, irrespective of differences in opinion, intend to work for the betterment of the organization even if their working techniques tend to clash. Try focusing on the good intention behind why one employee acted out a particular way.

Talk the talk
Giving employees the space they need is a good way to improve their efficiency but remember to check in every once in a while to find out if they aren’t happy about something (which is mostly the main cause of disputes). Try spending a few hours a week dropping by everyone’s tables to ask how things are going. Listen to their problems and help them come up with solutions. “An intervention of the managers and the CEOs by providing guidelines to the employees is an effective way of resolving disputes,” says Mr. Nischal Man Pradhan, the CEO of Brain Digit, a software developing company. However, at the same time, solving disputes without interventions result in a longer lasting relationship notes Mr. Manohar Acharya, of Foodmandu.

Identify company policies
Apart from resolving a conflict after it arises, identify whether the company’s policies are creating one in the first place. Distorted job descriptions drive employees crazy and fuel a war among them. Define job descriptions well and review work performances to avoid disputes from the very beginning.

Talk it out
One of the best ways to settle a dispute is talking about it face to face. Ditch those cell phones, e-mails, social networking and text messaging for a few moments and have an actual conversation. Bring both disputing parties to the same table and talk it out. Give both parties a chance to be heard before jumping into any conclusion on the basis of one side of the story.

Taking a walk in someone else’s shoes
Encourage the disputing parties to analyze why they’re having the conflict in the first place. Help them learn each other’s paradigm; this doesn’t mean one has to accept it but simply understand it with the other person’s point of view. Think about how he/she can solve the problem in a totally different manner. Learning someone else’s paradigm not only resolves a dispute but also helps one learn something they never thought existed.

A simple solution when being engaged in resolving a conflict is to communicate and most importantly listen empathetically, because we’re taught to read and write but we really don’t know how to listen. People have their own capacity; just because someone is good at something doesn’t mean every individual in the organization has to be good at it. The difference in capability doesn’t create conflict; the ignorance of people about respecting someone for their capacity does. “Some are born introverts while others are good at expressing themselves freely. Every individual is different from another but it’s the responsibility of the managers and the CEOs to find out how they contribute to the benefit of the organization,” says Mr. Chitrakar.

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