This page is designed to get ideas and solidify a reference point for Procedural Conflict Resolution. All team members are encouraged to voice their opinion for the process of resolving conflict.

This is a presentation of conflict resolution procedure taken from standard facilitation training with NVC (NonViolent Communication), a technique that many professional mediators have had enormous success with:

To actually solve conflicts we have to delve below the surface level of the three presenting high-level, ego driven aspects: Interpersonal Clash, Methodology Clash and Directional Clash. When we reach below the ego-driven or head level, to the needs-driven or heart level conflicts can be distilled down to the participant's differing emphases on their actual prime needs.

Three Steps to Resolution: The first step requires participants identify their own underlying prime needs. Ask the participants to go to to pick out which needs are most relevant to them in the situation.

Secondly, participants take turns stating these needs while the others concentrate completely on understanding and embracing the other's needs.

Thirdly, once the participants are identified and embraced with caring, respect and empathy applied towards the needs of the other, it becomes clear that there really is no conflict or competition on this core human needs-driven level and it becomes relatively simple to work together to find solutions that address those needs in a way that work reasonably well for the whole team. The team members connect on a deeper "heart" level and set aside their egos; they engage their strong caring capacity to address the needs of the other.

Suddenly it becomes second nature for the team to pull together in the direction of problem solving and stop the ego-driven clashes from the "head" level and arrive at mutually beneficial solutions.

Of course that's not to say that the solutions arising from this heart-sharing process will be absolutely perfect for every individual, but in the main 'rough consensus' will be easy to achieve.

Let's take a Simplified Example: Let's say one team member (we'll call her Geraldine) has some new material she's developed and wants to have an event where she presents this material promoted through an official announcement on the forums with a note that has been 'stickied' so it stays up to the top. Another team member (we'll call her Harriet) is tasked with providing forum moderation and would be the person to actually apply the 'sticky'.

Geraldine is very excited about her event and eager to see it promoted. Harriet on the other hand isn't sure about whether the event Geraldine is promoting fits into the team's stated guidelines and so is worried that it might not be an event that furthers the team's goal of spreading Ubuntu.

Following the above procedure Geraldine goes to, and studying it she discovers that her prime needs in this situation are to

  • Contribution (to contribute her material to others)
  • Effectiveness (to be able to promote her event)
  • Inclusion (to be included in the Ubuntu LoCo Team)

  • Support (supported by the Team)

Meanwhile Harriet goes through the list and comes up with

  • Integrity (to be integral with her understanding of the Team guidelines)
  • Competence (to perform her moderator role competently)
  • Understanding (to understand what the material is about and how it relates to the team goals)
  • Mutuality (to feel confident that she and Geraldine are working towards the same goals)

Next Harriet listens intently as Geraldine gives her needs inventory list. Harriet then tries to restate what Geraldine identified as her needs, and finds out if she has understood them accurately. Geraldine provides gentle corrections to anything that Harriet didn't understand accurately.

When Geraldine feels properly heard they switch places and repeat the process.

Now that each understands the needs of the other on a deeper caring level and have expressed their mutual care in a gentle way they can brainstorm together on solutions.

As they brainstorm they discover that the material Harriet has come up with is about demonstrating Ubuntu's suitability to business people in conjunction with a release party. Geraldine recalls that the team had just been discussing how they could do outreach more to business people and is happy to learn that the event fits nicely into the criteria that the team had set. With a new appreciation for Geraldine's Team participation, Harriet then gladly provides Geraldine's note the requested sticky.

Please note that this destination could never have been arrived at if there had been no communication beyond the initial encounter. It took time to work out but both participants express at the end of the process their satisfaction in having gotten to know another team member better and that they invested the time to live out their Ubuntu ideals.

This reference design for conflict resolution should reflect the precepts of the CoC (and LCoC) including respect for each member, contributing or not.

Center for Nonviolent Communication:

Ubuntu Community Documentation on Disputes and Conflict: and Conflict

Within the link above is a nice rundown by JonoBacon :

Chapter 9 "Handling Conflict" is available from the online book Art of Community also by JonoBacon.

General Comments about Conflict

If its not handled skillfully, conflict can be very destructive to any volunteer group. We in the Ubuntu LoCo's have an especially high quality-of-relationships goal we have set for ourselves since we are built around the African concept of "ubuntu". Further the Ubuntu LoCo's operate as leaders in the free culture/open source movement with high expectations and ideals that we both place upon ourselves and that are placed upon us by others observing us as together we struggle to address bug #1.

Another relevant, famous African concept word we can apply to conflict resolution is "harambee"; literally "all pull together".

CaliforniaTeam/Projects/ConflictResolution (last edited 2010-10-01 20:52:05 by ip72-197-233-84)