Conflict Assessment Tools and Surveys

Conducting a survey or conflict assessment tool at the beginning of a conflict can be powerful in various ways.

  • It can give leadership or outside conflict management professionals a clear picture of what's happening in certain situation.
  • It establishes a baseline to measure against to see if things have improved throughout a process.
  • It allows participants to share their perspective anonymously and independently, which supports more honest communication.
  • It demonstrates the range of perspectives.
  • The very act of completing the assessment or survey may help the participant gain more clarity about their own perspective.

The following are samples of surveys and questionnaires that are helpful for social/political organizations as they navigate inter- and intra- organizational conflict. These surveys and assessment tools represent the work of many conflict professionals whose collective experience is broad and deep, but we recognize that our experiences cannot and do not encompass the diverse cultures of those who use them. We recommend customization of these tools and other resources in order to meet the needs and interests of individuals, groups, organizations, and communities.

Descriptions of Assessment Tools and Surveys
(see below for samples)

Organizational Conflict Management Survey for Social Movements/Organizations

This survey is helpful within social/political organizations when there is a need to gain some understanding as to the levels of conflict within their group(s); if there are any systems in place to address those conflicts; and what support may be needed to build the individual or group capacity to work in conflict spaces (i.e. training, skill building).

For example, this survey could be used by leadership within a grassroots organization who has been experiencing conflict at various levels within the organization and are seeking ways to build conflict engagement systems and supports for their staff and volunteers.
Click Here for a Sample

Organizational Conflict Resolution Systems Design Assessment Tool

This assessment tool is helpful in identifying useful areas for discussion and joint problem solving in social/political organizations when they are seeking to resolve internal and/or external conflicts and move toward a conflict resilient organization. This assessment tool would typically be used by outside consultants and key staff who would work collaboratively to design the tool based on real conflicts within their group(s) or team(s).

For example, a large internationally based advocacy organization has been experiencing a number of conflicts which they believe are related to resource management. This issue has gone unresolved despite attempts to do so. They decide to bring in a conflict professional to consult. The consultant would use this tool in the form of surveys and one-on-one conversations with those involved in the conflict. The results of this assessment would likely reveal a more in-depth look at the multiple sources of conflicts within the organization. After working to resolve those conflicts, this information could be used to help the group design and implement a system to engage in conflict constructively; prevent conflict; or address conflict effectively. The result would also allow for conflict to become generative in nature, allowing differences to exist outside the status quo.
Click Here for a Sample

Essential Questions for Assessing Conflict

This assessment tool is useful for the leadership and the participants to understand the nature of a given conflict. It helps clarify the scope of the challenge and highlights the diversity of perspectives.
Click Here for a Sample

Samples of Assessment Tools and Surveys

Conflict Management Survey For Social Movements/Organizations

Thank you for your willingness to participate in this anonymous pilot survey. Let’s get started!

Use a Likert Scale 1-5
1 = Strongly Disagree
2 = Somewhat Disagree
3 = Neither Agree nor Disagree
4 = Somewhat Agree
5 = Strongly Agree
N/A

Q1: Our group is effective at constructively discussing our differences, disagreements, and opposing ideas. (Scale 1-5)_____
Comment:

Q2: There is a well-understood and commonly-used system in place to manage disagreements and conflicts within our local group. (Scale 1-5)
Comment:

Q3: There is a well-understood and commonly-used system in place to manage conflicts within our state, regional, and/or national organization. (Scale 1-5)_____
Comment:

Q4: Our group believes that differences of perspective and opinion can help individuals and groups find new and innovative ideas. (Scale 1-5)_____
Comment:

Q5: I have conflict(s) with another member of my local/regional group or within the larger organization that are currently unresolved. (Scale 1-5)_____
Comment:

Q6: Our group has conflicts with other organizations or in the community that are currently unresolved. (Scale 1-5)_____
Comment:

Q7: It would be helpful for us to receive conflict resolution training or support in the following areas.
Please check all that apply.

___ Building Conflict Literacy and Resilience
___ Conflict Engagement and Social Justice
___ Sources of Social and Political Conflict
___ Trauma Informed Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
___ Equity and Inclusion in Conflict Spaces
___ Effective and Non-Violent Communication
___ Mindful Engagement - Mindfulness Practices for Conflict Spaces
___ Conflict Sensitive Approaches to Social Media
___ Dialogue Design and Facilitation
___ Restorative Circles and Conflict
___ Conflict Coaching
___ Leadership in Conflict Spaces
___ Conflict Systems Design in Social/Political Organizations

Other Questions

Q8: Please feel free to share any additional information you may find helpful.

Q9: I identify myself as:

___ Group Leader
___ Group Member
___ Regional Organizer
___ Organization Staff
___ Other: Please explain ______________

Organizational Conflict Resolution Systems Design Assessment Tool

This survey will assist (Name of Organization) in identifying useful areas for discussion and joint problem solving as we seek to design and implement a system to engage in conflict constructively within the organization. prevent conflict or address conflict effectively, whether such conflict occurs between people or amongst groups within or between organizations. Please answer reflecting your personal experience. All responses will be reported anonymously and shared with everyone who completes the survey. There are opportunities to make comments throughout the survey.

For questions that call for a number, use a Likert Scale 1-5
1 = Strongly Disagree
2 = Somewhat Disagree
3 = Neither Agree nor Disagree
4 = Somewhat Agree
5 = Strongly Agree
N/A

BACKGROUND

  1. I work primarily with (NAME of group/org/team)
  2. I have worked for (NAME of group/org/team) for:
    1. 0-6 months
    2. 1-3 years
    3. 3-5 years
    4. 5-10 years
    5.  >10 years
  3. The organizations that I have worked for in the past are connected to social/political movements:
    1. Yes___
    2. No___

OVERVIEW

  1. What are 3-5 words that describe your understanding of the (NAME of group/org/team) Mission for the coming 3 years? (COMMENT)
  2. What are 3-5 words that describe your understanding of the (NAME of group/org/team) Vision for the coming 3 years? (COMMENT)
  3. I experience no difficulty fully supporting (NAME of group/org/team). (Scale 1-5)

CULTURE

  1. I feel I fully understand the culture and needs of (NAME of group/org/team). Scale 1-5
  2. What words would you use to describe the culture of (NAME of group/org/team)? (COMMENT)
  3. What is working well in relationships between (Examples: Staff; Staff & Leadership; Staff & Volunteers; Community & Organization; Between Organizations)? (COMMENT)
  4. What is working less well and requires further alignment or conversation? (COMMENT)
  5. Equity and inclusion is handled well (NAME of group/org/team)?
  6. How might equity and inclusion be handled better? (COMMENT)

NARRATIVES, ATTITUDES, & BEHAVIORS

  1. What words would you use to describe the narratives or stories that are told in your (NAME of group/org/team) about those in other (NAME of another group/org/team)? (COMMENT)
  2. What stereotypes or biases do you believe people in the other (NAME of group/org/team) have about your (NAME of group/org/team)? (COMMENT)
  3. What words would you use to describe the effectiveness of (NAME of group/org/team)? (COMMENT)
  4. What words would you use to describe the effectiveness in working through conflict of (the other NAME of group/org/team? (COMMENT)
  5. What might be done in both organizations to better prevent, reduce, or resolve conflicts? (COMMENT)

STRATEGIC (note these questions are often asked of senior management during in-person interviews)

  1. How aligned are (NAMES of groups/orgs/teams that may be in conflict) at a strategic level? (COMMENT)
  2. What are the top 3-5 opportunities facing (NAME of group/org/team) or you believe will face in the next 5 years? (COMMENT)
  3. What are the top 3-5 challenges facing (NAME of group/org/team)  or you believe will face in the next 5 years? (COMMENT)
  4. What opportunities and challenges in the coming years are most likely to impact the relationship between (NAMES of organizations/partnerships/others working with the organization)? (COMMENT)
  5. Are there ways in which (NAMES of organizations/partnerships/others working with the organization) can support each other in the next 5 years? (COMMENT)

OPERATIONAL/FINANCIAL (note these questions are often asked of senior management during in-person interviews)

  1. What is working well in (NAME of group/org/team)? (COMMENT)
  2. What could be done to improve the way operations are handled? (COMMENT)
  3. How effectively are financial decisions handled? Scale 1-5
  4. What could be done to improve the way financial decisions are handled? (COMMENT)

ACTIONS

  1. What the top 3-5 issues that need to be resolved (WITHIN the group or between groups) or (at a facilitated gathering designed to resolve conflicts)? (COMMENT)
  2.  What hopes do you have for (EXAMPLE: at a facilitated gathering designed to resolve conflicts)? (COMMENT)
  3. What concerns or worries do you have about (EXAMPLE: at a facilitated gathering designed to resolve conflicts)? (COMMENT)
  4. What outcomes will:allow you to feel that (EXAMPLE: at a facilitated gathering designed to resolve conflicts) has been successful?(COMMENT)

Any other comments, observations or suggestions? (COMMENT)

Essential Questions for Assessing Conflict

  1. How would you describe the current conflict?
  2. How and when did it the conflict(s) begin?
  3. Who is impacted by it?
  4. Is it chronic or repeating?
  5. Superficial or deep?
  6. Is there a deeper problem below the surface?
    1. If so, what is it?
  7. Is the conflict connected to a system?
  8. Is the conflict
    1. specific or general?___
    2. localized or widespread?___
    3. controlled or chaotic?___
  9. What’s been done to resolve the conflict?
  10. What hasn’t been done to resolve the conflict?
  11. What’s being done that supports its continuation, reinforces the conflict, or rewards negative behaviors?
  12. What are the sources of resistance?
  13. What’s missing in this picture?
  14. What is the potential damage or cost of not resolving the conflict?
  15. How does the conflict impact the vision, mission, objectives, values, or goals of the group?
  16. There is strong desire to make changes necessary to resolve the conflict? 1-5 ____ (1 = Strongly Disagree and 5 = Strongly Agree)
  17. The situation is urgent? 1-5 ____ (1 = Strongly Disagree and 5 = Strongly Agree)

Our team of highly skilled conflict professionals can support you

For more information and support, or if you are interested in becoming a member of the DPACE team, please contact Wendy Wood, Project Director: dpace@mediatorsbeyondborders.org