What is conflict and how does it escalate
Conflict can be defined as the relational disputes that occur between two or more individuals or groups. It occurs when parties fail to agree on particular matters (Phillips, n.d.). There are three types of conflict; Interest conflict, Relationship conflict, and value conflict. Conflict escalates as a result of provocation and increased confrontation. Conflict also escalates when people strive to hurt each other rather than striving to resolve it. If conflict escalates, it may change from one that can be easily resolved to one that cannot be resolved.
Causes or factors that underlie conflict?
This arises when people compete for the same resource such as, Jobs, housing, income and territory when not enough to go round or when unfairly distributed. It also applies to natural resources such as fresh water and cultivable land (Kuchar & Yang, 2000).
Conflicts arise when people’s beliefs clash. Political and religious views are mostly sensitive; people often rely on these for a sense of belonging and identity. A political or religious group being attacked can sometimes cause conflict. This is because the group is eager to broaden a particular belief and even inflict it on others (Tjosvold, Hui, Ding & Hu, 2003).
In the same way, ethnic differences can be made to cause conflict or can cause it. Just as individual lash out with angry words or gestures when they feel vulnerable, people’s ethnicity gives them a sense of identity and belonging which is threatening to this sense and can cause violent responses resulting to conflict.
Other factors that underlie conflict are: misunderstanding, lack of trust, authority issues, and insufficient information among others.
The purpose of effective conflict management
Conflict management is fundamental in our personal lives, and even at work places. At workplaces conflict management helps to avoid conflicts and for employees to focus on their work. Conflict management is helpful in strengthening the relationship between the workforce and halves the problems of the workplace automatically (Tjosvold, Hui, Ding & Hu, 2003). In our personal lives, conflict management plays an essential part too. The list of our enemies increase and relationships are spoiled due to fights and tussles (Humphreys, 2005). It prevents fall out among family members, relatives, and friends and makes life stress free and peaceful.
Conflict management serves to find a substitute to any difficulty, a middle way and successful achievement of the idea (Humphreys, 2005). Preventing conflict and its undesirable effects and problems must be dealt with at the right time. An individual explores possible grounds to worry which might later on lead to a big setback and attempts to resolve them through conflict management skills.
Conflict management is always wise to avoid a clash at the first place than facing its negative consequences. Through conflict management, people feel motivated, happy, stress disappear and the world definitely becomes a better place to stay (Humphreys, 2005).
I recall a situation that occurred sometimes back between my two friends. Conflict arose between them over which political party held the interests of the people at heart. While one of them thought that party A was responsible for the growth that was evident in the country, the other thought that most of the development had been conducted at the expense of the people. While we had not looked at this as a situation that could cause conflict, it eventually threatened to break-up friendship of my two friends. So at first, I ignored my friends’ conflict until I realized they were beating the case out of proportion.
I realized that the two had a real issue when communication broke down between them. As the case progressed, I realized the need to interfere. While there was no reason why they would not have any political orientations they preferred, I felt they were taking it too far and let them know. This was of course was not the right time for me to declare my political orientation. I needed to stay calm and try to make them do the same. They had by now started calling each other by the names of political failures who had used the respective parties to get into power.
I saw two ways that mediation could work to provide a solution to the present case. The first one was by showing them how leaders behaved. While they acted angrily against each other in public and even battered words, they were in fact true friends outside the political domain. This could be proved by the numerous photos that were available online with the two politicians together. The politicians also did business together. As if by coincidence, we would find two companies in which the two leaders invested in together. These two scenarios made the two politicians to see the sense in their making peace and work together the same way the two politicians did.
At this point, my friends kept quiet and appeared to regret the outburst that had happened a few moments before. They both thought that they had made an error to pursue the interests of politicians so strongly. The two of them were however unwilling to show the intention to resolve their conflict at once. They were conflict cowards in this way. Regardless of the fact that they were both aware of the fact that they needed to resolve it, they found it difficult to resolve the conflict professionally. Instead, they wanted to just do away with the matter and forget.
I suggested that they should resolve the conflict by accepting their differences and integrating each other’s values into their lives. This would require them to view their diversity of opinions as strength rather than a weakness (Kuchar & Yang, 2000). They needed to substitute the failure names they had battered for more successful figures in the context of their opposing parties. This way, they stood a higher chance of winning each other to their respective parties.
I think the first thing that helped to fuel the conflict was their words. The louder they became, the less they were likely to resolve the conflict themselves. The two needed to become calmer to resolve their conflict. In the end, I suggested sitting them down and having them talk through their conflict. Eventually, they both agreed that the party was not the determinant of whether the economy succeeded or failed.
In conclusion, conflict
should be identified and resolved early to avoid escalation,. When escalation
happens, it may make the conflict to get out of hand. Conflict management is
very important as it prevents situations from getting out of hand. Both members
must be willing to resolve for it to be completely, easily and satisfactorily
Humphreys, M. (2005). Natural resources, conflict, and conflict resolution uncovering the mechanisms. Journal Of Conflict Resolution, 49(4), 508–537.
Kuchar, J., & Yang, L. (2000). A review of conflict detection and resolution modeling methods. Intelligent Transportation Systems, IEEE Transactions On, 1(4), 179–189.
Phillips, D. (n.d.). The conflict (1st ed.). Charlottesville, Va.: University of Virginia Library.
Tjosvold, D., Hui, C., Ding, D., & Hu, J. (2003). Conflict values and team relationships: Conflict’s contribution to team effectiveness and citizenship in China. Journal Of Organizational Behavior, 24(1), 69–88.
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