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Conflict Resolution

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Essay title: Conflict Resolution

Conflict can be defined as a state of disharmony between incompatible persons, ideas, or interests (Landsberger, 2002). It is also something we encounter on a daily basis, because not everyone has the same point of view or values. Most people have varying expectations of themselves, and those around them. Conflict itself is neither good nor bad; however, unresolved conflict can become toxic to an effective atmosphere or relationship. In order to effectively handle conflict, implementing certain strategies is a necessity in order to overcome, or deal with any type of conflict.

Dealing with conflict, or overcoming conflict, is also known as conflict resolution (Callahan, Benzing, & Perri, 2006). There are many criteria for a peaceful resolution. One of the most important aspects is ensuring that conflict resolution is a voluntary process. Each side, or all parties involved, must come together voluntarily, and work cooperatively on the issues. Each party involved should also feel that they can speak freely, are being heard, and are a critical part of the solution (Malcolm, 2007). This is especially important when a team effort is required. With multiple viewpoints, all opinions should at least be heard. However, all team members must also be willing to offer those opinions. Resolving conflict can not and should not fall onto one specific person in a team atmosphere.

Now that conflict resolution has been defined, and the initial aspect which must exist to begin conflict resolution has been identified, the sources of conflict should be described. There are three major sources of conflict. These include economic, value, and

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Conflict Resolution Strategies

power (McNamara, 2003). Economic conflict is where all parties involved want to get the most that they can, and their actions revolve around maximizing their gain (McNamara, 2003). Value conflict is when the preferences, principles, and practices that people believe in are involved (McNamara, 2003). Then, last of the three main sources is power conflict, which is when every one involved wishes to maintain the amount of influence that it has in the relationship and the social setting (McNamara, 2003). While these are the three main sources, it does not always mean that the one source is the reason conflict is there. There is usually more than one source apparent. In addition to the main sources, there are several other sources. These include, but are not limited to, ineffective communication, unresolved crisis, perceived inability to succeed, and boundary issues (McNamara, 2003). When the sources are understood, implementing the appropriate strategy can effectively deal with conflict resolution.

There are many strategies for conflict resolution. The primary strategies are

setting boundaries, communication, and supportiveness (Bluestein, 2006). Boundary strategies work best in an atmosphere of respect for the people you’re working with. Boundaries actually work better than rules, as rules relate to power conflict. With boundaries, there is usually a greater sense of commitment from all parties as there is more room for compromise (Bluestein, 2006). Using the boundary strategy also allows for all parties input and the benefit is to all who is involved. The communication strategy is very important. When using this strategy, stick to the issues, wait until all parties are

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Conflict Resolution Strategies

calm, and talk to that person in which there is conflict. Do not use a third party to communicate. This will only complicate matters.

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