- County Data Profiles
Community Resource Publications
According to a recent Kentucky survey, over 40 percent of local public disputes turn into bitter power contests that damage relationships. Many of these disputes are characterized by deadlock with little chance of resolution or agreement. These settings make it difficult to solve public problems. One way to turn conflicts into healthy community discussions is to help the disputants move from a focus on positions to interests. By focusing on interests, it is possible to address everyone’s major concerns.
Groups face several major challenges during the goal setting process including. Force-field analysis can encourage members to carefully examine the probability of reaching agreed upon goals. When used properly, it can help groups to avoid working toward goals that are unlikely to be reached.
There are many reasons why groups and organizations need to encourage their members to express their differences in order to be successful. If an organization overemphasizes teamwork and group loyalty and excludes the airing of differences and concerns, it can seriously damage the group. The reasons become clearer when one studies two kinds of group behavior that minimize conflict. One is known as the “Abilene Paradox” and the other is called “Group Think.”
Extension agents and others involved in community development are often involved in helping people deal with controversial issues that require some deliberation or critical thinking on the part of the community members. For action to occur, discussions of action choices must not destroy existing relationships. Rather, the discussions should help build a sense of “we”, where public knowledge emerges and people move towards a common ground.
You can view the full series here: http://www.ca.uky.edu/SNARL/CommunityResources/CommunityIndex.htm