According to PMBok 6th edition, Compromise/reconcile is the searching for solutions that bring some degree of satisfaction to all parties in order to temporarily or partially resolve the conflict. This approach occasionally results in a lose-lose situation.
According to Rita Mulcahy, Compromise is a lose-lose situation. Neither party get's what they want. Rather both parties have to surrender partly what they were looking for. The win-win technique is collaboration.
In social psychology studies of groups, compromise is considered lose-lose in a zero sum equation. Both parties want 100%, but they both have to give something up to appease the other party. As a result, neither party really gets all of what they want. Typically it results in resentment and not really being happy. Also, it can hurt productivity if obtaining buy-in of all parties involved (e.g lose-lose).
Social psychology indicates groups should work towards collaboration. Concept is more in depth problem solving and fact finding to understand all parties positions on importance and working to try include. This approach deals with creativity and innovation. Members present lots of ideas and work through them to try and select an approach that meets most members concerns. This tends to result in better decisions since ideas should be well vetted and result in higher buy-in from members.
Thank you for sharing your comments and a response to my post.
I completely agree with your views, if a technique is a conflict resolution, it can't be a lose-lose situation. Putting in other words, if it is lose-lose situation it cannot be a conflict resolution (as you said).
I also got little surprised when I read that compromise is a lose-lose situation in one of the book. That's the reason I posted this.
Interesting to see, what a big asset such discussions are in the PMP exam preparation. Thanks again.
That is a great question! Let me give you my personal opinion on the conflict resolution techniques:
None of the conflict resolution technique is a lose-lose technique. To me, any conflict resolution technique, that ends up resolving the conflict, cannot be a lose-lose technique. Lose-lose will be the situation if the conflict is not addressed and not resolved.
Many people believe that confronting is the best conflict resolution technique. Theoretically this seems to be true, but practically one needs to choose the best technique for the situation. For example, in some situations it would be better to withdraw rather than confront a situation. Imagine one of my colleagues is having a really bad day and has just received a real hard time from his manager. If this colleague starts an argument with me today, I would rather withdraw from the conflict rather than trying to confront. Perhaps, I would try to confront the problem the very next day. Or maybe he’ll be back to normal the very next day. What do you think?
According to PMBOK, “each one (of the techniques) has its place and use”.