Saturday, 19 November 2005

Amplifying Effectiveness - models to consider

Congruence Model
The intent of the Congruence Model (Figure 1) is to remind the user that in dealing with different situations, the person should consider oneself, others involved in the situation, and the context of the situation. The inclusion or exclusion of any of these elements results in a stance that that may be blaming, placating, overly reasonable, or congruent.

Figure 1: Congruence Model

NB In Psychology, the Congruence Principle is a corollary of the principle of cognitive dissonance, the notion that it is impossible for a person (or organisation) to live too long where there is incongruence between a belief and a behaviour.

Assertive-Cooperative Model (based on Thomas Kilmann)
A similar model is the
Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), this model describes possible reactions to conflict based on consideration of self vs. consideration of others. It is possible to think of this model not in terms of a negative conflict but in the positive achievement of goals (expressed or suppressed) and whether you have consideration of your own goals (assertiveness) and consideration for other people’s goals (cooperativeness). A resultant situation that ends in both parties achieving their goals is an ideal situation and one of collaboration. In contrast a situation arising from compromise could be considered to be a very poor outcome where dissatisfaction is prevalent with all parties; the middle ground may be quite unsatisfactory and lead to conflict at a later stage.

Figure 2: Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument
The TKI reactions are as follows:
  • Avoiding. The goal is to delay or avoid.
  • Accommodating. The goal is to yield.
  • Compromising. The goal is to find a middle ground.
  • Competing. The goal is to win.
  • Collaborating. The goal is to find a win-win situation.
To use the models when in an uncomfortable confrontation, the user should take a moment to consider where he or she is, in relation to the model, and where he or she would like to be. Then, modify behaviour appropriately. 
As a general rule many of us end up unsatisfactorily compromising on our goals due to a failure to engage adequately in understanding the needs and concerns of others or through not being assertive enough, in a constructive way, with our own needs. I expect that at its heart the centrist political third way aims to achieve new common goals and principles through an acknowledgement, understanding and reconciliation of historically polarised positions.