Navigating Conflict: Documenting the Conflict Resolution Process and Its Results1 April 2023
Documentation is an integral part of the conflict management process. Not only does it serve as a reminder and a common reference, but it is also necessary to record the facts related to the conflict in order to initiate the conflict management process. Documentation is essential to build trust between the parties, as well as to record their willingness to participate in conflict management efforts. It is also important to document the initial information about the conflict, such as the main points of contention, to help the parties comprehend the issues they are facing and to find the most effective solution. Moreover, documentation is useful reference material for monitoring and evaluating the progress of the conflict-handling process.
At the beginning of the conflict assessment and negotiation or mediation process, several aspects must be documented to ensure that the conflict-handling process runs smoothly and achieves the desired objectives. These include verification of the presence of a conflict, the parties’ agreement to cooperate in resolving the conflict, the parties’ acceptance of the assessor/mediator, and an agreement not to disclose confidential information (Non-Disclosure Agreement or NDA).
In the conflict assessment process, several details must be documented in order to gain a thorough understanding of the conflict. To begin with, the subject of the conflict must be identified, such as the parties to the conflict and any other stakeholders involved. Additionally, the object of the conflict must be identified, including the location of the conflict, its extent and dimensions, the content or values associated with the object, and the relevant legal status and title. Furthermore, the relationship between the subject and the object must be taken into account to determine the subject’s relationship and interest in the subject of the conflict, as well as their claims.
The information documented will form the basis for identifying the agenda for negotiations and the formulation of recommendations or suggestions for the next conflict management process, which must also be documented. Moreover, it is important to document information about the dynamics on the ground related to the case, such as the subjects, objects, and their relationships, as well as any relevant external factors, such as social, cultural, and economic factors that may affect the conflict. By documenting this basic information, the parties will have a better understanding of the conflict and it will be easier to find the best solution to resolve it.
Documentation in the form of pre-assessment and conflict assessment reporting has several important issues to consider. Firstly, the objectivity, neutrality, and impartiality of the assessor/mediator in the documentation must be prioritized so that the documentation is trusted by the parties and does not raise suspicion of the assessor/mediator. Secondly, any non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that has been agreed upon by the parties to the conflict must be honored. Under the NDA, the only information that can be reported is that which has been agreed upon by the parties to the conflict. Separate consultations with each party can be conducted to avoid violating the non-disclosure agreement or NDA.
Should there be conflict over any information, consideration should be given to how to report the disputed information without escalating the situation and avoiding the appearance of partiality on the part of the assessor/mediator. Care in how information is reported will reduce the risk of chaos and ensure that the information base is adequate for an effective and efficient conflict resolution process. For this reason, the language used must be clear and precise enough to avoid misunderstandings and controversy.
Discretion or wisdom is required in documentation and reporting, which means that the matters agreed in the NDA must be well understood and actually implemented. Breach of the non-disclosure agreement will undermine the trust of the parties and threaten the continuity of the process. Additionally, documentation should not justify or blame either party for the conflict. It should only present the facts of the conflict and not make conclusions about the rightness or wrongness of either party in the conflict. Both sides of the conflict have their own opinions about the veracity of their claims and the fact that one side has a particular opinion can be considered a fact. However, caution must be taken with this because it can lead to misunderstandings. That is, it must be very clear that what is being reported is an opinion whose facts are still under debate.
One way to avoid conflict about the facts of the conflict is to conduct a participatory assessment that involves the parties actively involved in the assessment process together facilitated by the assessor. The purpose of conducting a participatory assessment is to prevent conflict over facts or information. Findings and data are directly triangulated by the assessment participants so that the report can be accepted as a joint result. Finally, it is of utmost importance to document the resulting agreement and its implementation plan as a joint reference in the future and as a basis for implementing, monitoring, and evaluating the agreement. In documenting the agreement, it is important to adhere to the corridors and applicable laws and regulations, including the provisions on agreements in the Civil Code (KUHS). By complying with prevailing laws, the resulting agreement will have a legal basis and can be accounted for in the future.