FROM CONFLICT TO CREATIVITY: How Resolving Workplace Disagreements Can Inspire Innovation and Productivity

Sy Landau, Author, Daryl Landau, Joint Author, Barbara Landau, Joint Author . Jossey-Bass $24.95 (187p) ISBN 978-0-7879-5423-9

"Conflict in organizations is natural and inevitable," the Landaus state at the outset of this clear and concise guide for not only managing such conflict successfully but harnessing its potential to develop creative solutions to organizational challenges. In discussing common strategies adopted for dealing with unproductive conflict (avoidance, competition, accommodation and compromise), the authors cite examples from their wide experience as mediation, negotiation and dispute resolution consultants. This wife/husband/ son team argues that a collaborative process appealing to the interests of all sides has the greatest potential for promoting free discussion of ideas while encouraging the committed participation of all, and for turning conflict into an opportunity for joint problem solving. They assert that once people's energies are redirected from sniping at each other to working together, the conflict inherent in a diversity of opinions can become an invaluable asset. The Landaus have found that an effective organization is one that generates conflict (of the good variety) in order to brainstorm and debate ideas fully and candidly before adoption and implementation. Their recommendation to foster "creative contention" and to be "hard on the problem but soft on the people" depends crucially, however, on fearless leaders with a gift for facilitating in a supportive workplace, an admirable combination that may be all too rare in today's harsh business landscape. (Nov.)

Forecast:With the potential for destructive conflict escalating in workplaces around the country and managers desperate to stem declining morale, the concrete, experience-based insights of this book should garner excellent word-of-mouth.

Reviewed on: 10/15/2001
Release date: 10/01/2001
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