Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is of significance to engineers and other decision makers because of the increasing importance of social and political influences in engineering decision making. For example, when designing a large scale engineering project such as a nuclear power reactor complex, the engineer must ensure that the undertaking is not only physically, environmentally, financially and economically feasible, but also socially and politically viable. Key objectives of conflict resolution are to gain a better comprehension about the strategic aspects of a given dispute and thereby make more informed and fairer decisions. A formal conflict model provides an effective medium for systematically recording and studying the conflict while the results of a stability analysis based on the model furnish predictions of compromise solutions and suggest where cooperation with others may lead to “win/win” outcomes. Current interesting research problems being studied by members of the Conflict Analysis Group include further developing the graph model for conflict resolution, expanding the decision support system GMCRII, collecting a knowledge base of engineering conflict applications, experimenting with techniques for eliciting ordinal preference information, handling unknown preferences, taking into account strength of preference, tracing the evaluation of a conflict from a status quo state to a desirable equilibrium, modeling emotions, determining the roles of conflict resolution in risk management, and designing procedures for executing coalition analyses.  Senior undergraduate and graduate students are most welcome to take SYDE 533 Conflict Resolution, for credit or audit in order to learn about the theory and practice of formal modelling approaches to conflict resolution as well as be exposed to exciting research developments in this important field of study. An advanced version of this course is also available as SYDE 730: Conflict Resolution.