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.
Follow these links to learn more about conflict resolution skills:
- Conflict Resolution Skills: Building the Skills That Can Turn Conflicts into Opportunities: A trusted guide that provides tips on building the necessary skills that can turn destructive conflicts into promising opportunities by utilizing essential people skills.
- Conflict Resolution Skills (PDF): An educational source that shares the core principles of resolving conflict in a favorable manner.
- Conflict Resolution: Where Does Conflict Begin?: The six points to sound conflict resolution include finding a balance between two parties’ goals, values, tasks, resources, rules, and communication.
- Out on a Limb: A Guide to Getting Along: An interactive guide that demonstrates how people with differing viewpoints can find a resolution to existing conflicts.
- Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills: Learners Guide (PDF): An extensive manual that teaches students how to develop better communication and conflict resolution skills.
- Conflict Resolution: Skills You Need to Work (PDF): An authoritative guide to developing conflict resolution skills, including understanding intra-personal conflicts, managing stress, and resolving interpersonal conflicts.
- Techniques for Conflict Resolution (PDF): An all-inclusive manual that teaches key conflict resolution strategies, including behavioral and negotiation techniques.
- The Dynamics of Conflict Resolution (PDF): A practitioner’s guide to understanding the dynamics of conflict resolution, and how to apply it to real life situations.
- Conflict Resolution in Schools (PDF): An instructional guide that teaches students to minimize conflict and resolve any underlying issues that caused a disagreement.
- Put Conflict Resolution Skills to Work: A call for competent conflict resolution between leaders and their subordinates.
- Conflict Resolution: Understanding the Elements: Head Start, a government-sponsored childhood learning and knowledge center, shares the important elements to understanding conflict resolution.
- 8 Steps For Conflict Resolution: A highlighted resource that defines, identifies, and provides answers to conflict.
- Development of Conflict Resolution Skills in Infancy and Early Childhood (PDF): An abstract publication that describes the many important aspects about conflict resolution development, especially in infants and young children.
- Workshop on Conflict Resolution: The International Federation of University Women shares pertinent steps that foster win/win situations when exercising certain conflict resolution skills.