The seven situations and mindset/strategies include:
Unhappy tolerance—you have less power,
competitive goals, and need to remain in the
Independence—low need to stay in situation Autonomy
Partnership –equal power, mostly cooperative goals, and need to remain in the
Enemy territory—equal power, competing
goals, and need to remain engaged with the
Compassionate responsibility—you have
more power, share goals, and feel the relationship is important
Command and control—you have more
power, competing goals, and need to remain
Cooperative dependence—you have less
power, share goals, and need to remain on
A self-assessment test is included to help readers
get a sense for which of the mindsets or strategies
are most prominent for them. A more comprehensive
version of the test can be taken online at: http://www.
Separate chapters provide an in-depth look at each
of the mindsets and behaviors associated with them.
The chapters include a more complete description of
the mindset and insights into what draws people to
it. Additional assessments are provided in each chapter that look at the degree to which an individual is
attracted to the mindset and also the degree to which
the individual’s work environment invites or supports
Each chapter provides a list of good reasons to use the
specific strategy. Most of them also outline problems
associated with misusing a particular strategy. One of
the most helpful aspects of each chapter is a section
describing what the strategy looks like in action. These
sections use examples to clarify how a specific strategy can be put into practice and what it looks like when
it is used. This is supplemented by a set of ten tactics
that can be used to support each strategy. The tactics
are easily understood, very practical, and backed up by
Each chapter includes a summary that brings together
the key elements presented about the strategy being
highlighted and a skill-development checklist and discussion prompts that enable the materials to be used as
part of a self-development process as well as in classroom settings.
A special chapter addresses intolerable situations
where it is necessary to respond with a disruptive
approach called principled rebellion. This chapter provides advice for those extreme (but still real) situations
where cheating, harassment, illegal or immoral activities,
or cover ups call for more than traditional responses.
Stories bring books to life, and this is certainly true in
Making Conflict Work. The combination of real stories
and fictionalized ones bring clarity and depth to the
many concepts and techniques shared in this book. It is
not always easy to deliver interesting and relevant stories, but Ferguson and Coleman clearly succeed.
Anyone interested in improving his or her own capacity
to manage conflicts, especially where power differentials are involved, should take time to read this book. The
same holds true for trainers, consultants, or coaches
who help others deal with conflict. Making Conflict Work
is an excellent and highly practical contribution to modern conflict literature.
Anyone interested in improving his or her
own capacity to manage conflicts, especially
where power differentials are involved,
should take time to read this book.