Our interpretations, Mediation Strategies and Communication Types
The Nature of Conflict -- an introduction
What is Conflict?
Conflict as Perception
Conflict as Feeling
Conflict as Actions
What causes conflict?
Link between Interpersonal Conflicts and Effective Communication
Mediation and Dispute Resolution
The Nature of Conflict -- An introduction:
Conflict is a naturally existing problem in our society and the world as a whole. Conflict exists at all levels and it is so a certain extent quite natural and inevitable. With a functionalist approach, it can be said that the existence of conflict is somewhat important for the society. It is however an understatement to say that we live amidst conflict. Conflict is present at every level in society and people at every second are reassuring each other as to how they are having a "discussion" instead of a conflict when in reality this is often not the case. Even in organizations, many professionals are hired to ensure a conflict free planning and implantation process. Not everyone would agree with what the other person's point-of-view is and this is what may lead to internal conflicts. People sometimes hold a perception that admitting the existence of a conflict is a sign of weakness and failure and surrendering to hopelessness (Mayer, 2002).
This uncertainty about conflict is present as the basic challenge for those who attempt to resolve this. The way the nature and context of conflict is analyzed represents the individuals own attitude and approach towards the problem. The perception of a situation may vary from individual to individual and everyone would judge it from various aspects. Conflict may be seen as a feeling, a disagreement, an argument or an issue that needs to be dealt with. The first and foremost thing in order to resolve the conflict is to judge and assess the nature of the conflict appropriately and handling it according to that. The essential tools in this analysis are the interactions that contribute to the building of conflict. The roots and the origin of conflict can be identified using this and the participants as well as the context can be easily analyzed.
Sometimes, we indulge in conflict subconsciously and make certain assumptions about its nature that may or may not be true. It depends on the situation whether the assumption end up being helpful or limit the ability of an individual to analyze the situation properly. These assumptions may also hinder one from considering other options of analyzing the situation and finding solutions for it. There is an increasing need for challenging these assumptions and be practical in the way a situation is judged. As the way of handling situations and resolving issues becomes more powerful and deeper, the values that create peace in society are also instilled and carried out more effectively. However, in order to achieve this stability and effectiveness, individuals need to be open to acceptance and change regarding their thinking and mindsets. The framework to understand conflict is a lens through which the conflict becomes clearer and easier to analyze. There are different ways to look at the same situation and amend it accordingly.
What is Conflict?
Conflict exists as a three dimensional perspective which involves three stages, those being cognitive (perception), emotional (feeling) and behavioral (action). This approach helps in the analysis and understanding of the depth of the conflict and it helps one proceed in various dimensions depending on the scenario (Mayer, 2002).
Conflict as Perception:
Seeing conflict as a perception, it is basically someone's understanding and belief that what he/she beliefs and wants are incompatible with someone else's desires. This cognitive and subjective feeling of someone gives rise to conflict when the other person seems to have a different opinion. This can be one sided or from both ends. However it is justified to consider the existence of conflict even if it is so from one side because that individual will act according to what he perceives and feels if he judges that the other person may not have the same interests as himself.
Conflict as Feeling:
Conflict may also result in an emotional reaction and gives rise to a disagreement between two individuals. Emotions such as fear, sadness, depression, bitterness,, anger or hopelessness may be felt as a result of disagreements and conflicts. If these emotions are felt in relation to someone or something that happened with someone, it is easily recognizable that conflict does exist. Sometimes people start arguing and fighting just for the sake of it and the true purpose is lost somewhere along the way. In such situations too, they are in conflict because they acknowledge that they are and they feel that way. It often begins with one person acknowledging that they are in a conflict and his feelings and attitude towards the other automatically change and are thus reciprocated for the other individual as well (Mayer, 2002).
Conflict as Actions:
Conflict may also be a result of the actions that we take in order to express how we feel and how we perceive things. Sometimes in order to get what we want, we have to interfere with someone else's motives and desires. This is also a direct way to provoke any action against someone that would bring up conflict and may end up being violent or destructive. In opposition to this, it should be encouraged to have a behavior which is constructive, friendly and calm. But either way, getting what one wants may encourage a person to go to all extents and may create situations that would lead to conflict in the process.
The nature of conflict is such as to bottle up the emotions on both sides eventually. If one person holds something against the other, his attitudes and reactions will change which will eventually get the message across and conflict igniting between both of them. The conflict is not a stagnant situation and people often get in and out of conflict. Alongside they keep changing the three dimensions as well. Even though the three dimensions are linked together, it does not necessarily mean that the change in one dimension will cause a directly proportional change in the other dimension as well. For instance, a person who is charged with emotional conflict may eventually lose track of the actual reason why he was fighting in the first place and fail in the process of judging the nature of the conflict itself. This makes conflict very confusing and quite unpredictable (Mayer, 2002).
There are situations whereby the motive of two people may differ from each other but they are actually unaware of what the person's plans are. This can only turn into a conflict when either one is aware of the differing opinions. Conflict, therefore, only exists when one of the three dimensions come into action and there are possibilities of any type of conflict occurring. Everyone has a potential to have a conflict with the various people they come across every single day of their lives. The interaction of people gives ground for this possibility because at the end of the day, it is natural for humans to have differing opinions and points-of-view and we all agree to disagree. Therefore, it can be agreed that conflict takes place only when it manifests itself into either one of the three dimensions mentioned.
What causes conflict?
Conflict has many causes and sources of origin. It is one of human being's basic instincts and it's a part of our nature to involve in conflicts and disagree with one another. Conflict arises from the different structures and institutions in society, the differences in power and authority, the struggle to achieve what one wants. The theories that are devised are just theories and what the basic focus point is how to prevent this from occurring and get the insight to the theories where they can be practically applied. If one is successful in identifying a framework to get down to the source and origin of the conflict, it will be quite easy to handle the situation and get through it. When we are able to identify the root cause of the conflict and the forces that made it up, it become easy to identify what measures should be taken in order to solve it.
The centre of conflict is usually the desire to fulfill the human needs. People tend to engage in conflict behavior because they have certain needs that are inconsistent to the others. Sometimes this conflict cannot be resolved or ended until these needs are either fulfilled or compensated for in any way. However, the needs do not exist in a vacuum space. They are present alongside other factors that contribute to the generation of conflict. To successfully address the needs of an individual and achieve them, the forces are to be worked through and it needs to be analyzed how each force affects the person in achieving what he/she wants. The five basic ways in which conflict…