Video conferencing can play a part in conflict resolution

Video conferencing could be used to help resolve conflicts and arguments, researchers from University of Bath have found.

Video conferencing could be used to help resolve conflicts and arguments, researchers from University of Bath have found.

The technology could help to resolve conflicts between employees at work, neighbours or even family members.

At present, conciliators and mediators from organisations such as Acas are called in to help tackle hundreds of thousands of serious conflicts each year, ranging from disputes between employees or between management and unions, to violent breakdowns in relations between neighbours and family members.

But researchers, Leon Watts, director of studies for the graduate programme on Human Communication and Computing and Matt Billings, of the University's Department of Computer Science, believe that video conferencing could be useful because it has more potential for social and emotional communication than the telephone, but cuts out the chance that one or both disputing parties are intimidated by the other's physical presence.

Watts said, "In situations of high conflict, it can be hard to get to the real issues, to judge what people really care about, on the phone. So using a video link, in which the conciliator can in addition see each of the disputing parties, is a step forward: it gives them a new options for appreciating parties' depth of concern about different issues."




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