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The Conflict Resolution Toolbox: Models and Maps for Analyzing, Diagnosing, and Resolving Conflict 1st Edition

19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470835173
ISBN-10: 0470835176
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In real-life conflict resolution situations, one size does not fit all. Just as a mechanic does not fix every car with the same tool, the conflict resolution practitioner cannot hope to resolve every dispute using the same technique.

Practitioners need to be comfortable with a wide variety of tools to diagnose different problems, in vastly different circumstances, with different people, and resolve these conflicts effectively. The Conflict Resolution Toolbox gives you all the tools you need: eight different models for dealing with the many conflict situations you encounter in your practice.

This book bridges the gap between theory and practice and goes beyond just one single model to present a complete toolbox—a range of models that can be used to analyze, diagnose, and resolve conflict in any situation. It shows mediators, negotiators, managers, and anyone needing to resolve conflict how to simply and effectively understand and assess the situations of conflict they face. And it goes a step further, offering specific, practical guidance on how to intervene to resolve the conflict successfully.

Each model provides a different and potentially useful angle on the problem, and includes worksheets and a step-by-step process to guide the reader in applying the tools.

  • Offers eight models to help you understand the root causes of any conflict.
  • Explains each model’s focus, what kind of situations it can be useful in and, most importantly, what interventions are likely to help.
  • Provides you with clear direction on what specific actions to choose to resolve a particular type of conflict effectively.
  • Features a detailed case study throughout the book, to which each model is applied. Additional examples and case studies unique to each chapter give the reader a further chance to see the models in action.
  • Includes practical tools and worksheets that you can use in working with these models in your practice.

The Conflict Resolution Toolbox equips any practitioner to resolve a wide range of conflicts. Mediators, negotiators, lawyers, managers and supervisors, insurance adjusters, social workers, human resource and labour relations specialists, and others will have all the tools they need for successful conflict resolution.

From the Back Cover

Praise for The Conflict Resolution Toolbox

"With this marvelously engaging handbook, Gary Furlong guides us on the path to continuous improvement in how we diagnose and resolve conflict. Furlong’s toolbox is practical, clear and informative. Using an easy style and highly relevant case studies, Gary describes eight important models that we can use to help us diagnose and resolve conflicts. Keep this one in your briefcase—don’t leave home without it."

Jennifer Lynch, Q.C., Conflict Management Systems Designer, and Board of Directors, Association for Conflict Resolution


"The Conflict Resolution Toolbox is a book I wish I had when I was a novice mediator! The concepts and theories that took me years to uncover are now elegantly distilled into eight conflict resolution models presented in one user-friendly handbook. Furlong’s approach can help practitioners better analyze and resolve even the most intractable conflicts. I highly recommend this resource to all my colleagues—experienced and novice alike!"

John S. Barkat, Ph.D., Ombudsman, Pace University; Former President, The Ombudsman Association; and Founder, Collaboration at Work


"Gary Furlong joins theory to practice in a manner that provides even experienced practitioners with useful guidance on best practices. His emphasis on rational and creative diagnosis leading to effective action should be pasted in the front of ADR daybooks as a reminder of the fundamentals. I hope this is just volume one in the series."

David McCutcheon, President, ADR Institute of Canada


"Mediation teachers across the globe will enrich their classrooms by incorporating Furlong’s essential analysis, and practical applications. We have built an entire course around this conflict analysis model, and students come back to this material throughout their careers."

Elaine Newman, Arbitrator and Mediator, Academic Coordinator, Dispute Resolution Programs, Atkinson Faculty, York University


"Gary Furlong’s eight models on conflict and dispute resolution offer one of the most comprehensive and thoughtful analyses of the sources of conflict, how it can be effectively managed and, should disputes arise, how they are best resolved. Keep this toolbox close at hand. You will use it often!"

D. Paul Emond, Professor of Law & Director, Part-Time LL.M. in Dispute Resolution, Osgoode Hall Law School

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470835176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470835173
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jon Linden VINE VOICE on August 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Furlong's new book may be a milestone in the application of mediation theory to the practice of mediation. His objective is to introduce "Models" or "Maps" if you will, that help the mediator analyze specifically:

1) Diagnosis of the Conflict

2) Strategic Guidance for the Practitioner of a Course of Action To Move Toward Resolution

Furlong is quick to say, "There is no magic formula that resolves all disputes." This statement surely gives him an element of immediate credibility. In addition, the author notes that in his study of many 40 Hour Basic Mediation Courses, "Mediation training seems to be focused solely on face-to-face skills and simple steps for conducting the mediation itself, and does little to teach the participants about diagnosing the root cause of the conflict."

In order to overcome the deficiencies of most training programs, he suggests that actual diagnostic models can be used to help the mediator "diagnose" and then "determine next course of action" using these `roadmaps to resolution.' if you will. He defines 8 (eight) different models in his book, which he describes thusly:

1) The Circle Of Conflict

2) The Triangle Of Satisfaction

3) The Boundary Model

4) Interests/Rights/Power Model

5) The Dynamics Of Trust

6) The Dimension Model

7) The Social Style Model

8) Moving Beyond Conflict

To illustrate these "Models" Furlong uses a general case study, which he applies each model too, to illustrate how different "lenses" or perspectives on mediation method can yield very similar results.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Greg Beatty on June 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I had a sharply divided reading experience with The Conflict Resolution Toolbox. On one hand, it's really useful. When I went through mediation training, I was introduced to a couple models of conflict. Author Gary T. Furlong describes eight different models of conflict resolution. He applies each one to the same case study, so I could see how the models align and how they differ, and how different models do or don't work in specific situations. His writing is clear, and examples and practical suggestions abound.

And...I had a lot of trouble with the concepts in the book. Furlong's experience and mine differ sharply, and while he's markedly more experienced in conflict resolution (he's a professional, I dabble), I have to give my experience some weight. Furlong discusses conceptual biases, and to be frank, I think these are at play here--not just his own biases, but those of the field. Examples of this come when Furlong is talking about the Interests/Rights/Power model. He writes of interest-based processes as win-win. They certainly can be. However, if one of my major interests is a fast solution, so I can get on with things, the more time we spend coming up with creative solutions, the lower my satisfaction. When he discusses rights-based processes, he classifies the outcomes produced as win-lose. Again, the results certainly can be--but there's a whole lot of win-win in the clarity of knowing who has what right. In indicating that these tend to be "adversarial," he seems to ignore simple desires for clarity. (Where does this property line run? Ah, got it. Now we can go on.) He also focuses on the satisfaction of the parties immediately involved. That's certainly a primary focus, but what about the larger community /organization?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dixie Kathy on March 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is OK. I bought it for a class and read it through. It gives a bunch of techniques for dealing with situations and goes over the same, dull, workplace conflict over and over and dissects it in a thousand different ways. Not helpful.
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Format: Kindle Edition
As others have stated, I appreciate the author using the same case study across all eight models to see how each would apply. Each model he describes is straight forward and easy to understand and does not deviate too far into the academic ether for me to lose comprehension as other books sometimes have the tendency to do.

I have studied conflict management and resolution as part of other classes but this is the first time I am doing an actual dedicated study. In his review, Jon Linden pointed out that the social styles model is an excellent way for those of us new to mediation to understand different personality styles. I agree with this and it was a refreshing alternative to the normal Myers-Briggs styles that we are often inundated with. I am already using the social styles model in my every day life to "diagnose" those that I work with. The only issue I had with Furlong's book and specifically this model is that as part of the application, someone must adjust their style. However, there is no hint as to who should adjust so someone has to just give in. I realize that is a minor nitpick and might be another book altogether but it is a relevant question.

Other models, such as the interests, rights, and power model seem like common sense but we do not necessarily always think in common sense terms so it is nice to see these put down on paper in easily digestible terms.
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