In the book, programmed conflict is defined as “conflict that raises different opinions regardless of the personal feelings of the managers.” (Kinicki, et al, 2010) Two forms of programmed conflict that the book describes are the devil’s advocate and the dialectic method. The devil’s advocate is a situation where one person is assigned to critique alternative solutions in order to promote critical thinking and testing of the proposed solutions. I noticed that a lot of teachers utilize this technique when facilitating class discussions so that students engage in more critical thinking. The dialectic method is a debate of different viewpoints so that all sides of the proposed solutions are considered. The only drawback of the dialectic method is that it focuses on ‘winning the debate’ rather than finding the most suiting solution. An example of this is my Science and Society class from freshmen year where we were assigned roles to debate either for or against a certain issue, such as, allowing stem cell research. This activity allowed the class to hear both sides before voting which side they agreed with.
In the article by Tom Gerety, he distinguished between advocates and the devil’s advocates. Advocates teach what they themselves believe in while devil’s advocates teaches against either what they believe in or what they think their students believe in. Gerety says that teachers often play the devil’s advocate because they don’t want their students to be too easily convinced before examining all sides of the issues. An important quote in the article was "I would not lead you into the promised land if I could because if I could lead you in someone else could lead you out." (Gerety, 1999) This quote makes senses because if you’re easily convinced to side one way, you are also able to be easily convinced to sway another way. Engaging in activities that involve the devil’s advocate allows people to be less fickle in decision making and helps them to develop analytical skills. In situations like buying a car or a house, utilizing the devil’s advocate can help to minimize bad decisions.
GERETY, TOM. "The Moral Teacher: Advocate or Devil's Advocate?." Liberal Education 85.1 (1999): 34. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 30 Mar. 2010.