Due 7/24 by 12:00 Noon E/T- 250 word minimum


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Conflict resolution, whether for simple, two-party disagreements or complex disputes among multiple parties or even nations, may entail any number of ethical dilemmas that a third party must be aware of and grapple with. One example is the expectation of impartiality. Are there prior relationships or biases that might render the third party unable to conduct a fair process, and should he or she ask to be recused? Is the third party the most qualified and in the best position to help the parties, or should he or she suggest someone more appropriate to this case? And in the Western, impartial model, there is a great emphasis put on confidentiality and it is important for the third party to be able to uphold it. Finally, and perhaps most challenging, conflict resolution can provide the temptation to resort to deceptive behavior and questionable practices in order to “win.” ETHICAL DILEMMAS AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION ASSIGNMENT

If you are a third-party professional in the fields of negotiation, mediation, or arbitration, there are moral standards of conduct that come into play. If you are a psychologist doing conflict resolution, the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct come into play. And if you are involved in conflict resolution informally or not as a professional, there is the “right thing to do,” things that most people would agree are ethical. However, people engaged in negotiations and other forms of conflict resolution don’t always do the right thing. Some also would argue that ethics isn’t always black and white, but sometimes gray.


To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Read the questions in the Discussion post and keep them in mind as you review the following articles: “Ethics in Negotiation: Oil and Water or Good Lubrication?,” “Ethics in Negotiation: Does Getting to Yes Require Candor?,” “Ethics in Conflict Resolution: The Ties that Bind,” and “A Conflict Resolution Approach to Teaching Ethical Decision Making: Bridging Conflicting Values.”
  • Also with the questions in the Discussion post in mind, review the online articles “Codes of Conduct of Interveners,” the “Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators,” and the “APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.”
  • Create or bring to mind an existing conflict that would tempt someone to engage in minor or major deceptive behaviors or practices andhas an ethical or moral issue as part of the conflict.
  • Think about how you would respond to the Discussion questions with respect to this conflict.
  • Revisit the Learning Resources and think about how you can relate this information to your conflict and your response.


Post your response to the following questions. Be sure to cite the articles and ethical codes in the Learning Resources to support your position.

Is it ever justifiable to tell a little “white lie,” withhold information, tell half-truths, or otherwise be deceptive (see codes of ethics, Reitz article, etc. for more) if doing so will lead to you achieving your goal (or that of the parties if you’re the facilitator or mediator)? If so, when and why? If not, why not? Does it make a difference if the issue or goal is ethical or moral in nature? ETHICAL DILEMMAS AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION ASSIGNMENT

Is it ever justifiable to be the third party in a conflict resolution when you have a prior relationship of some sort with one of the parties and/or are not the most qualified to handle the kind of conflict involved? If so, when and why? If not, why not?

Begin by creating or describing an actual conflict that has a moral or ethical issue at the heart of or at least partially present in it. When you respond to the questions above, refer to your “situation” and include indications of how you might handle the ethical dilemmas represented in your conflict resolution example.

Again, it is important that you back up your opinions with citations from the Learning Resources.

Note: Please vary the level of the conflicts you select (interpersonal, intergroup, community, societal) assignment to assignment and week to week, so that all are represented equally.



Skim the following articles to get an idea of what research says about ethics and some aspects of conflict resolution: