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From Conflict to Creativity: How Resolving Workplace Disagreements Can Inspire Innovation and Productivity offers a nice introduction to the dynamics and underlying causes of organizational conflicts and discusses techniques for fostering creative resolutions to them. The work is divided into two parts: Part One is entitled, ?How Conflict Can Lead to Creativity? and part two is, "Enhancing Creativity Through Conflict." This work is meant to assist business leaders, managers, committee members, and work teams, in tapping into their organization's creative potential.

Chapter One speaks specifically about why conflicts arise in organizations. Chapter Two discusses the advantages and disadvantages of various strategies for dealing with destructive conflict in an organizational context, emphasizing collaborative and interest-based approaches. In Chapter Three, the authors address the topic of creative conflict resolution directly. They present the reasons why creativity in conflict resolution is important, some examples of what creativity may generate out of a conflict, and a discussion of factors that contribute to creative conflict resolution.

The chapters of Part Two discuss various angles of the relationship between conflict, contention and the sparking of creativity. The general tone of this half of the book revolves around the idea that conflict may actually fuel creativity, if it is dealt with in intelligent and constructive ways. Chapter Four examines "some of the dilemmas organizations face when trying to foster creativity" among their employees (87). Chapter Five discusses techniques that may be used in order to reach creative collaborative resolutions to conflict in the workplace. The authors term the process of productive, positive conflict as "creative contention" (111). In Chapter Six, the authors address the problem of creating enough of a spark to ignite creativity, but containing conflict so that it does not become destructive. Chapter Seven, the conclusion, provides a brief review of the book's purpose and main ideas.

 

Brad Spangler is an Associate at Resolve in Washington, D.C. His primary area of interest is public policy dispute resolution. Brad Spangler is a contributor to Beyond Intractability which is an online “encyclopedia” compiling easy-to-understand essays on almost 400 topics which explain the dynamics of conflict along with available options for promoting more constructive approaches.