Re: conflict resolution
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 08:16:50 -0800 (PST)

On Nov 9, 2005, at 10:37 AM, ilyse simon wrote:

I'm researching what communities are doing with their conflict resolution committees. I'm looking for perameters for developing our Ulster Coho structure.

The best formal conflict resolution process I've seen is where each person in the conflict (presuming their are two sides) choses an advocate to represent/help them and those two advocates choose a third. These three people work to resolve all the issues in consultation with the two aggrieved parties. I've seen this process work well in labor unions and in churches (where one party was often the minister against whom a parishioner had a complaint).

What works for us, in the absence of any formal process, is that someone says, "I'll talk to them." Sometimes this is the head of a team or the board, sometimes a person who is NOT a close friend of either party, sometimes a close friend.

We tend to let things slide a lot. Give them lots of air. This is frustrating to many who feel that this results in less intense conflict but more extended, simmering conflict that causes people to just disengage. Others feel this allows conflicts to resolve themselves. As a person who likes to see things confronted and resolved, this drives me nuts but it does work -- especially when one person is advocating more of an ideological position rather than more of a personal need.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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