Understanding the Conflict Layer Model

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Introduction

The Conflict Layer model also termed the ‘Onion Model’ deals with negotiating skills. Here the negotiation could also be with oneself. This model tries to explore human needs which often lay hidden under layers of embarrassment which are essentially mental. This embarrassment leads them to conceal their deepest wants and diverts their focus on something less important. Negotiations under such circumstances do not yield required results and the deepest desires remain unfulfilled.

It is here that the conflict lies. According to the Conflict Layer model, a person’s innermost needs remain hidden in layers of embarrassment which need to be removed. Normally, an individual does not reveal himself or his needs because of a feeling of vulnerability. He assumes a stance of perception; in other words a place from where he declares his needs. This declaration of what he wants comes from his ‘position’. His ‘position’ compels him to express his wants which might not actually be so. According to ‘Onion model’ this is an onion layer which does not exhibit actual needs.

Once this layer of ‘position’ is removed through negotiation, a layer of ‘interest’ is exposed. This also is a superficial layer where humans try to identify his wants through verbal expressions. These once again are not his actual needs which he still is not able to disclose because of discomfiture. Further negotiation is necessary to remove this layer of ‘interests’ for revelation of actual ‘needs’. In this layer a person discloses his actual desires.

The significance of this model is to find out the innermost desires of individuals by removing superficial layers of demands. This type of need revelation is apt for two parties who like to engage in business for mutual benefit. By using this Onion model both parties concerned could find out the truest desires of each other and thereafter agree to settle those. Not all negotiations are possible through this model but only in cases where two parties are engaged and both could put forward their ideas without any inhibitions. However such situations do not always exist and most people like to keep their innermost desires concealed.

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