6. Negotiation & Conflict

Negotiation style inventories are a popular commodity in the commercial marketplace. Numerous consulting and/or training companies market their assessment and intervention materials. Many well-known assessment instruments, such as the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) and the Kolb Learning Style Inventory, are proprietary and only available commercially. Please note – only publicly available measures are considered here.


Negotiation is a cooperative process whereby participants try to find a solution that meets the legitimate interests of involved parties; it is a discussion intended to produce an agreement.

Conflict resolution is the process of (1) resolving or managing a dispute by sharing each side’s needs and (2) adequately addressing their interests so that they are satisfied with the outcome.

An MCH professional approaches the negotiation setting with objectivity, open to new information but aware of long-term desired outcomes that include relationship-building and development of trust. He or she recognizes when compromise is appropriate to overcome an impasse and when persistence toward a different solution is warranted.

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Knowledge Areas

Through participation in this program, a participant will know:

  • Characteristics of conflict and how conflict is manifested in organizational contexts.
  • Sources of potential conflict in an interdisciplinary setting. These could include the differences in terminology and cultures among disciplines and the relationships between mentors and students.
  • The theories pertaining to conflict management and negotiation among groups with conflicting interests.
  • The strategies and techniques useful in successful negotiation.

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Basic. Through participation in this program, a participant will:

  1. Apply strategies and techniques of effective negotiation and evaluate the impact of personal communication and negotiation style on outcomes.

Advanced. With more experience and building on the basic skills, MCH leaders will:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to manage conflict in a constructive manner.

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Educational Experiences

  1. Develops persuasive case for policy implementation in MCH field collating evidence, addressing possible objections, and developing sequential action steps
  2. Goes through exercise where argues one side of controversial position and then is able to effectively take the opposing view
  3. Identifies motivation and what are the near and long term interests of opposing sides in sample conflicts e.g. vaccination of all children for childhood diseases, early screening of children for rare disorders, etc
  4. Reads and discusses “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving in” by Ury, Fischers and Patton (1991).
  5. Analyses case study of opposing positions such as Special Education dispute, or resource allocation example to break down respective positions, motivations, desired outcomes and possible alternative solutions.

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Resources/Assessment Tools – 6. Negotiation & Conflict Resolution

Key Documents

  • William Ury, Roger Fisher and Bruce Patton, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving in, Revised 2nd edition, Penguin USA, 1991, trade paperback, ISBN 0140157352;
  • William Ury, Getting Past No: Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation, revised second edition, Bantam, January 1, 1993, trade paperback, ISBN 0553371312

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Web Sites

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Assessment Tools

Inclusion Criteria –

To be considered for initial inclusion in this web site, the materials had to meet several criteria:

  • the material needed to focus on one or more of the skills listed for a particular competency
  • the material needed to describe either a measurement instrument or theory that could support the creation of such an instrument
  • the material had to be publicly available, that is, where the item is not a commercial entity available for purchase
  • the material needed either psychometric information about its properties as a measure or, particularly in the case of material found only on the Web, a high degree of face validity

Copyright and Use Issues –

The materials initially described were identified for consideration by MCH interdisciplinary training programs. Many of these materials are copyrighted and thus, may not be copied, distributed, transmitted, or published without the express written permission of the copyright owner. It is the responsibility of each user to ascertain whether materials may be freely used or whether such permission is needed.

The Rahim Organizational Conflict Inventory – II (ROCI-II)

The ROCI-II is a 28-item measure of conflict-handling styles. It is based on a two-dimensional conceptualization of handling conflict that assesses a learner’s motivations: concern for self and concern for others. Given a matrix of high and low scores on these dimensions, four quadrants describing conflict-handling styles are possible: avoiding, dominating, integrating, and obliging. An additional style, compromising, lives at the intersection of the four cells.

Information at:
Rahim, M. A., & Magner, N. R. (1995). Confirmatory factory analysis of the Styles of Handling Interpersonal Conflict: First-order factor model and its invariance across groups. Journal of Applied Psychology; 80(1): 122-32.

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Organizational Communication Conflict Instrument (OCCI)

The OCCI is a 35-item instrument designed to assess strategies in conflict handling. The scale has been found to assess three factors:

  • nonconfrontation, defined as “indirect strategies for handling conflict”
  • solution-orientation, defined as “direct communication about the conflict”
  • control, defined as “direct communication about the disagreement.”

Information at:
Putnam, L. L., & Wilson, C. E. (1982). Communication strategies in organizational conflicts: Reliability and validity of a measurement scale. Communication Yearbook. 6:629-52.

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Faculty Observation: Checklist

One instrument that addresses the area of conflict management with clients directly is an instrument developed to assess the communication skills of residents in emergency medicine. This instrument was found to have moderate agreement in the area of conflict management (among others) but poor agreement relative to the establishment of initial rapport. The utility of this instrument appears extremely limited for MCH interdisciplinary programs.

Many measures of communication skill focus on building and maintaining positive relationships. It is likely that many of these instruments are better suited to assessing this skill.

Information at:
Rosenzweig, S., Brigham, R. P., Snyder, R. D., Xu, G., and McDonald. A. J. (1999). Assessing emergency medicine resident communication skills using videotaped patient encounters: Gaps in inter-rater reliability. The Journal of Emergency Medicine. 17(2): 355-61.

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Other Assessments Of Negotiation Skills

Learning to manage conflict is a developmental process. At every stage of training, learners can benefit from identifying, thinking about, and practicing the components of these skills.

Case studies: provide a way to evaluate learners’ skills by use of standardized experiences that ask the learner to describe the ways in which she or he would respond to specific situations. Case studies, such as those found in The Complete Guide to Conflict Resolution in the Workplace, provide situations and suggested appropriate responses that can be used to assess conflict resolution skills.

Information at:
Masters, M. F. and Al bright , R. R. (2002) The Complete Guide t o Conflict Resolution in the Workplace. New York, NY: American Management Association

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DIAND Self-Assessment

The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) of Canada provides extensive resources for training and assessment of six leadership competencies: communication, team building and facilitation, win-win negotiation, flexibility and innovation, risk taking, and seeing the big picture. Some of these competencies map to some of the MCH leadership competencies.

The DIAND Self-Assessment exercise is designed for learners to rate themselves on a variety of skills related to the competencies and to supplement their ratings by describing recent examples. DIAND suggests that such information can then be used as the basis for individual learning plans.

This tool may be very useful in helping MCH interdisciplinary trainees to assess behaviors such as developing cooperative working relations and negotiating effectively, and to further explore the results, perhaps using a portfolio approach.

Information at:

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Portfolios are collections of information that can be used to evaluate MCH knowledge in action.

Portfolios include materials prepared by a learner to demonstrate learning in response to a plan. There is increasing evidence of the utility of portfolios for assessment of learning and for competency assurance in health care.

For a portfolio to be effective, it should include:

  • a learning plan that contains specific goals and objectives
  • materials that demonstrate achievement relative to the learning plan
  • learner reflections
  • learner and faculty evaluations of the material

The ACGME, in its draft Toolbox of Assessment Methods, provides some information about the properties and uses of portfolios for assessment.

Information at:

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