Leadership Competencies for Navigating Complex Conflicts Study

Peter T. Coleman and Nick Redding, Columbia University

PeaceMaker_-_Game_interfaceDuring the spring, we conducted a study aiming specifically to investigate the extent to which a set of five proposed complexity attributes/ competencies (cognitive, emotional and behavioral complexity; tolerance for ambiguity; and consideration for future consequences) relates to the ways in which individuals attempt to ameliorate a simulated decision-making scenario of a complex conflict (in this case the conflict between Israel and Palestine from the perspective of the Prime Minister of Israel). We are still working to finalize our analysis, but have already found some interesting patterns. Overall, different combinations of these competencies relate to gaining more complex and nuanced perspectives while working with the conflict over time, employing multiple decision strategies simultaneously in the scenario, making decisions more conducive for constructive conflict resolution, and relying less on harsh tactics such as building walls and conducting military operations. Moving forward, we will be incorporating these results into an assessment that can be employed in workshops and trainings to provide participants with feedback regarding their complexity attributes. Nick Redding is preparing these results for his dissertation, which he will be defending in February or early March and we also intend to submit these findings for publication in an academic journal.

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