Don’t Get Revenge: Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflict resolution encompasses a variety of methods and processes that involve facilitation of a peaceful ending among two parties with differing opinions in a social conflict. Conflict resolution strategies may involve attempting to resolve disputes between two parties by actively communicating about their different opinions to an unbiased person or group. Both conflicting parties should state their intentions and reasons for holding their beliefs and then engage the third party into the negotiation, mediation, diplomatic, or peace building process. Legal bodies may refer to this as dispute resolution, where civil litigation cases are involved. Conflict resolution strategies often consist of nonviolent resistance measures between two parties to develop an effective, peaceful win/win outcome.

Conflict resolution involves two underlying themes, including assertiveness and empathy. Assertiveness implies that the individual states his or her concern for self. Empathy implies that the individual states a legitimate concern for others. Disputing parties can balance their concern for satisfying their personal needs and interest for others by applying strategies that satisfy both parties in various ways. This may lead to a differentiation of conflict resolution styles between both parties, which may include avoidance, yielding, competitive, cooperative, and conciliation.

Parties who exhibit avoidance may be characterized by inaction and passivity, an ineffective strategy for high-conflict situations. Parties who yield during conflict are characterized by a high concern for others, while neglecting to take care of one’s own self. Competitive parties escalate conflict by maximizing their assertiveness, instead of considering the opposing side’s point of view. Competitive parties seek domination over others, and aim to intimidate their opponents. Parties who tend to cooperate with their opponents have an invested self-interest, while considering a positive outcome for their opponent. This often involves a collaboration to find a resolution between conflicting parties. Compromising parties work together in tandem to find a level of fairness. Compromisers exhibit an effective conflict resolution style that may lead to a peaceful outcome.

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Conflict management and prevention involves long-term intervention between two opposing parties that may not ever find a permanent resolution. Conflict management refers to a number of ways that people handle grievances, or a behavioral means to standing up against what they consider right or wrong. This phenomena may arise in a variety of forms, including malicious gossip, ridicule, terrorism, lynching, feuding, genocide, political law, mediation, negotiation, warfare, and avoidance. The manifestation of these behaviors may be determined according to the environment that the conflict arose. In the case of political conflict, countries have adapted military and law policy to prevent a violent escalation, a term commonly referred to as diplomacy.

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Last Updated On: April 9, 2014

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