The systemic approach to conflict resolution

win–win strategies

The sense that the other is not carrying ‘their share of the load’ leads to the majority of conflicts within organisations – and these perceptions can apply across individuals and groups. It is not easy to define the true scope and value of the contribution an employee, or team, or department is giving to an organisation, hence such perceptions persist.

The application of systemic principles can address this and help to reveal the hidden dynamics that perpetuate the conflict. Systemic tools, and in particular, OCEAN (Organisational Constellations – Enabled Analysis of Networks), can be used to: find potential conflicts – instead of letting them fester in the dark; introduce transparency into behavioural patterns; observe relationships between team members and the company as a whole; discern, and possibly influence, informal structures of the enterprise; make the resolving of conflict reasonable and do-able, and; create environments for collaboration and ideation.

wind skying

As a starting point to communication and cooperation, OCEAN takes very little time and can be performed by one member of the organisation – though preferably the person holding the highest position in the hierarchy. We also use group processes, such as dialogue and Open Space Technology, to work with the whole team. In an individual context, Systemic Constellations can be used to address personal issues, with great effect.

Systemic conflict resolution is about optimising the communication processes within and between organisations.