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Triangle of Satisfaction: Meeting Stakeholders’ Communication Needs

One of the guiding principles for The Langdon Group is a model developed by Christopher Moore titled: The Triangle of Satisfaction.

The Triangle of Satisfaction refers to the conflicts of interest resulting from competition over actual or perceived incompatible needs. Such conflicts arise when an individual or party believes that the needs of an opponent must be sacrificed to fulfill his/her own needs. The three sides of the triangle represent specific types of needs – procedural, psychological, and substantive – while the center of the triangle represents interest conflicts.

Procedural needs refer to the dispute and resolution process. Individuals and/or parties with procedural needs have issues relating to how the dispute is resolved. Psychological needs refer to core values such as trust, respect, and fairness. Individuals and/or parties with psychological needs want to be respected, trusted and feel that they are treated fairly. Lastly, substantive needs refer to specific issues such as money, resources and time. Individuals and/or parties with substantive needs want a resolution to these specific issues.

It has been the experience of The Langdon Group that procedural, psychological and substantive needs are interdependent and that individuals and/or parties with conflicts of interest will not reach a satisfactory agreement unless all three needs have been met. In addition, mediation should focus on interest-based rather than positional-based negotiations to achieve an agreeable resolution.