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How people process information is regulated in great part by his/her personal barriers How his/her were raised, his/her values, his/her fears and personal needs. When people try to resolve a dispute within its organization, people tend to let his/her egos, biases, and emotional and physical impairments influence the thinking process. Additionally, people have a difficult time recognizing that his/her responses are being influenced by these factors. These barriers, when not recognized and addressed, can impede the resolution process and cause conflicts. However, this does not have to be the case. Strategies for overcoming these barriers, and developing positive dispute resolution and problem solving habits, can be achieved with techniques to strengthen clearer perception and better communication. When used correctly, these techniques can induce creative thinking and open previously unexplored solutions. It is the concepts that will be explored in the following workplace dispute.

Designs of Love is currently developing its marketing plan for a new line of same sex wedding dresses for lesbian brides-to-be. The company has assembled a marketing team, who has been assigned the task of planning a marketing strategy for this segment of the wedding market. During the first meeting, several members of the group had difficulty coming up with ideas. Some team members were disturbed by the nature of the target customer; others just had difficulty designing a campaign that was elegant and attractive to this market segment. This disruption within the group resulted little being done to develop a marketing plan, and developed tensions within the group that further hindered group productivity. After seeing their difficulty, the organization assigned Leo, who is a resolution manager, hired to help the other members sort through their personal influences and concentrate on the project before them. The following communication is his suggestions for the marketing team.

Leo’s Analysis

Dispute resolution is an ongoing process that is an integral part of work and life. At one time or another, every professional has the task of resolving conflict. The proverbial gap between the current situation and a desired situation often causes a great deal of anguish for the individual trying to resolve the conflict. This anguish can, however, be avoided by trying to approach the problem from a different angle, creating new solutions by applying a creative problem solving approach. This process allows imagination to feed off memory and knowledge causing one idea to lead to another.

Problem Solving Guide

1. Define the Problem

A primary source of ineffectiveness is rushing to solutions before properly defining the problem. A good problem definition states the current situation and the desired situation. Use clear and concise language supported by facts when defining the problem (Robbins, ). Although you can never learn everything about the problem, one can learn enough to define the current situation and the desired situation. Once the problem is defined, then the mediator should work to understand and analyze the root causes to make sure the potential solution addresses the cause of the problem (Rushworth, ).

Starbursting is a technique for finding a variety of ideas in a short time and can be used at all stages in the creative resolution process. The underlying principle of Starbursting is the greater the number of ideas generated, the greater the possibility that a quality solution will be found (Rushworth, ). In order for this process to be successful, there are some ground rules that need to be followed

Ground Rules for Starbursting

• No criticism of an idea is allowed.

• Strive for the longest list possible - go for quantity.

• Strive for creativity - wild and crazy ideas are encouraged.

When using the Starbursting technique

• Focus on the topic or problem statement and write it on a piece of paper in a circle to help focus.

• Next, you will want to review the ground rules for Starbursting, as listed above.

• Think of as many questions as possible and write them down on the paper surrounding the problem circle (as if bursting from the center).

Note Starbursting can be done individually or as a whole group (Rushworth, 4).

. Generate Alternatives

Now that the situation has been identified, the next step to problem solving is to generate alternative solutions. An important ground rule for this step is generate, dont evaluate (Thompson, ). You may want to try the Starbursting technique again to generate some solutions.

. Evaluate Alternatives

Before evaluating alternatives, the criteria for judging solutions should first be

established. The criteria should define general characteristics of a solution. Furthermore, the criteria should be objective and preferably measurable, rather than emotional. The developed solutions should be prioritized according to the solution criteria.

4. Develop an Action Plan

Action planning is designed to build the commitment and ownership in the solution. This increases the likelihood that the solution will be implemented effectively and on time (Thompson, ).

The final campaign from the marketing team was a line of elegant photographed lesbian couples in the organization’s new line of wedding dresses appropriately named Love Made Visible. This campaign helped the Love Made Visible line grow to be one of the organization’s most lucrative lines. It was also commended within both the wedding industry, as well as the Gay/Lesbian community, as being the most innovative and elegant bridal lines.


Solving problems and resolving disputes is an ongoing process that is an integral part of everyday life, either at home or at work. A problem must first be defined, root causes understood, and alternatives generated before effective solution can be proposed. With the help of creative problem solving techniques, professionals can broaden their perception of the problem and explore a variety of solutions.

The key to using creativity when solving problems is to change his/her perspective, creativity, and the problems his/her face. This will help a person reduce anxiety, relax and focus his/her creative powers exactly where an individual can do the most problem-solving good. In the case of the marketing team, some individuals had deeply rooted religious beliefs about homosexuality and same sex marriage, and had to be removed from the team. Once the new members had been acquired to replace them, the team was then able to concentrate on its task to develop a lesbian wedding campaign. A large barrier in this process was fear. Many of the individuals were concerned that employees would either offend someone in the room, or be negatively labeled based on their participation in the team. Once these fears were reduced with the ground rules, the group was better able to participate in the formulation of ideas.

The ability to play with ideas is at the heart of creativity. Being able to see an idea paired with an idea, which is never paired or separated from an idea, which is never separated, requires playfulness. The Starbursting method encourages this playfulness, but ultimately being creative depends on desire, knowledge, effort, insight, and critical judgment.

Work Cited

Robbins, Stephen P. Organizational Behavior. Custom Electric Text for University of

Phoenix. Pearson Custom Publishing, 001.

Rushworth, Kidder. How Good People Make Tough Decisions, New York

Fireside/Simon & Schuster, 16

Thompson, Robert. Effective Dispute Resolution http//www.metaethics.org/contributors/gop010.html

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