Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dispute Domains - Part 1

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to move through conflict with some people, and how difficult it is with others? The difference could be due to something researchers Gale Miller and James Holstein call dispute domains. The good news is, not only do they exist, but you can do something about them.

No two disputes are exactly the same, even when they involve the same people. Disputes take on a life of their own based on which resolution process we adopt and the kind of relationship we perceive ourselves to have with our counterparts. Choices related to these tend to locate conflict into a particular dispute domains. A dispute domain is a kind of framework for conflict interaction, hidden, and yet obviously constraining potential tactics, outcomes, and other conflict-defining elements.

The reason why conflict with some people seems so difficult is because our interaction with them is located in a dispute domain that constrains the possibility of a more desirable and satisfying experience. Moving into a different dispute domain changes the dynamics, potentially altering the outcome as well.

In my next post, using biblical constructs, I will identify 12 dispute domains with their associated properties and a framework for accurately locating any current disputes of your own.

© 2009 Randal L Gilmore All Rights Reserved

For more on Gale Miller and James Holstein's work see Dispute Domains and Welfare Claims: Conflict and Law in Public Bureaucracies (1996).


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