OTPIC Officially Retired
As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.
The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.
International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict
Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA
Opening Page | Glossary | Menu Shortcut Page
Active listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding. Often when people talk to each other, they don=t listen attentively. They are often distracted, half listening, half thinking about something else. When people are engaged in a conflict, they are often busy formulating a response to what is being said. They assume that they have heard what their opponent is saying many times before, so rather than paying attention, they focus on how they can respond to win the argument.
Active listening is a structured form of listening and responding that focuses the attention on the speaker. The listener must take care to attend to the speaker fully, and then repeats, in the listener=s own words, what he or she thinks the speaker has said. The listener does not have to agree with the speaker--he or she must simply state what they think the speaker said. This enables the speaker to find out whether the listener really understood. If the listener did not, the speaker can explain some more.
Often, the listener is encouraged to interpret the speaker=s words in terms of feelings. Thus, instead of just repeating what happened, the active listener might add AI gather that you felt angry or frustrated or confused when@. . .[a particular event happened]. Then the speaker can go beyond confirming that the listener understood what happened, but can indicate that he or she also understood the speaker=s psychological response to it.
Active listening has several benefits. First, it forces people to listen attentively to others. Second, it avoids misunderstandings, as people have to confirm that they do really understand what another person has said. Third, it tends to open people up, to get them to say more. When people are in conflict, they often contradict each other, denying the opponent=s description of a situation. This tends to make people defensive, and they will either lash out, or withdraw and say nothing more. However, if they feel that their opponent is really attuned to their concerns and wants to listen, they are likely to explain in detail what they feel and why. If both parties to a conflict do this, the chances of being able to develop a solution to their mutual problem becomes much greater.
Links to Examples of Active Listening
- Divna Persic-Todorovic -- Conflict Resolution: Working with Refugees
- This is a short story about a third party working and refugee camps in Serbia who used active listening to try to promote understanding and friendship between refugees.
- Roger Fischer, Elizabeth Kopelman and Andrea Schneider -- Explore Partisan Perceptions
- This is a short illustration that explains the importance of predispositions to the way that people see and understand situations. It emphasizes the importance of active listening to overcome such predispositions.
- Andrea Williams -- Resolving Conflict in a Multicultural Environment
- Active listening is one technique for clarifying communication and avoiding misunderstandings in cross-cultural communications.
- Stewart, John, and Milt Thomas. "Dialogic Listening; Scupting Mutual Meanings"
- This article describes and alternative to active listening that is more interactive.
Links to Related Approaches
Links to Related Problems
Failure to Understand an Opponent's Perspective
Cultural Barriers to Effective Communication
Misinterpretation of Communication
Poor Listening Skills
Copyright �1998 Conflict Research Consortium -- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Hunsaker PL, Alessandra T, Alessandra AJ. The new art of managing people, updated and revised: Person-to-person skills, guidelines, and techniques every manager needs to guide, Direct, and Motivate the Team. Simon and Schuster Inc; New York NY, USA: 2008.
2. Jones JE, Pfieffe JW. The 1974 Annual Handbook for Group Facilitators. San Diego, CA: Pfieffer; 1974. Small Group Instructor Training Course (SGITC). 1998. By U. S. Army.
3. Gonzalez TD. PhD thesis. University of Phoenix; Arizona, USA: 2009. Impact of active listening training at a California state hospital: a quantitative study.
4. Weger HJR, Castle GR, Emmett MC. Active listening in peer interviews: the influence of message paraphrasing on perceptions of listening skill. International Journal of Listening. 2010;24:34–49. doi: 10.1080/10904010903466311.[Cross Ref]
5. Bauer C, Kathrin F, Renate MP. Introducing “active listening” to instant messaging and e-mail: benefits and limitations. IADIS International Journal on WWW/Internet. 2010;7(2):1–17.
6. Robertson K. Active listening: more than just paying attention. Aust Fam Physician. 2005;34(12):1053–5.[PubMed]
7. Harvard Manage Mentor-coaching tools. Active Listening Self-Assessment. 2004. Available from: http://www.mheducation.ca/college/mcshane4/student/olc/4obm_sa_08.html.
8. Canadian Career Development Foundation. Circuit Coach, Helping Youth Get Ready/Self B.1.2 Active Listening. Available from: http://www.ccdf.ca/ccdf/NewCoach/english.
9. McShane SL. Canadian organization behavior chapter 8: Communicating in organizational settings. Mcgraw–hill, Ryerson; Toronto: 2000.
10. Mishima N, Kubota S, Nagata S. The development of a questionnaire to assess the attitude of active listening. J Occup Health. 2000;42(3):111–8. doi: 10.1539/joh.42.111.[Cross Ref]
11. Kubota S, Mishima N, Nagata S. A study of the effects of active listening on listening attitudes of middle managers. J Occup Health. 2004;46(1):60–7. doi: 10.1539/joh.46.60.[PubMed][Cross Ref]
12. Keyser J. Active listening leads to business success. ATD. 2013;67(7):26–8.
13. Cohen S, Eimicke WB. The new effective public manager: Achieving success in a changing government. Jossey-Bass; San Francisco, USA: 1995.
14. Minema S, Tsutsumi A, Takao S, Nishiuchi K, Kavakami N. Supervisors’ attitude and skills for active listening with regard to working conditions and psychological stress reactions among subordinate workers. J Occup Health. 2007;49(2):81–7.[PubMed]
15. Atwater E. I Hear you: A listening skills handbook. Walker & Co; Rev Sub edition; New York USA: 1992.
16. Rogers CR. Client-centered therapy: Its current practice, implications and theory. Constable; London: 1951.
17. Salem R. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict information consortium, editor. Beyond intractability. University of Colorado; Boulder, Colorado, USA: 2003. Empathic listening.
18. The text book for mental health promotion to workers - guideline and its explanation-Tokyo: JISHA (2001) Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association. :31–5.
19. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Available from: http://www.medscape.com/partners/niosh/public/niosh.
20. Leonard M, Graham S, Bonacum D. The human factor: the critical importance of effective teamwork and communication in providing safe care. Qual Saf Health Care. 2004;13(Suppl 1):i85–i90. doi: 10.1136/qshc.2004.010033.[PMC free article][PubMed][Cross Ref]
21. Keshtkaran A, Heidari A, Bastani P. Study of managers’ communication skills based on the staff’s view in shiraz university of medical sciences. payavard. 2012;5(4):41–8.
22. Makarem A, Movaffaghi Z, Hosseini F, Beyraghi N, Nabavi F, Khajedaluee M. Clinical Medical Teachers’ Competency of Active Listening in Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. Iranian Journal of Medical Education. 2013;12(12):935–46.
23. Motaghed Larijani Z, Vakili M, Gofranipour F, Mirmohammadkhani M. Effects of health education program on Behvarz’s interpersonal communication skills in Semnan University of Medical Sciences. koomesh. 2015;16(2):229–38.
24. Baghiyani Moghadam M, Momayyezi M, Rahimdel T. Communication Skills of department heads in shahidsadoughi university of medical sciences. Iranian Journal of Medical Education. 2012;12(6):448–57.
25. Axley SR. Communication at work: Management and the communication-intensive organization. Westport, Conn: Quorum Books, USA; 1996.
26. Khanifar H, Jandaghi G, Shariati F, Zarvandi N. Reviewing the communicative role of effective listening and commitment. Journal of Human Resource Management Research. 2009;1(3):147–70.
27. Wissow LS, Wilson ME, Roter DL. Pediatrician interview style and mothers’ disclosure of psychosocial issues. Pediatrics. 1994;93(2):289–95.[PubMed]
28. Fassaert T, van Dulmen S, Schellevis F, Bensing J. Active listening in medical consultations: development of the active listening observation scale (ALOS-global) Patient Educ Couns. 2007;68(3):258–64.[PubMed]