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Conflict is a major subject in the world and its effects are very diverse in the society causing crisis and other effects. Conflict can be viewed as a disagreement through which the parties involved perceive a threat to their needs, interests or concerns (About Conflict, 2012). In this definition, the key terms are parties, perceive and threat. In any conflict, there must be people or entities involved who have interest in a particular thing like political power, mineral resources and other socio economic activities.
This conflict is said to be from a perceived threat which may be a real threat or something that is imagined but because of lack of understanding of the real situation. Threat in this way means a feeling that what they think is theirs may be taken away or they feel that once certain people get something, they will treat them unfairly.
In the lifetime of a human being, there are situations that lead one to disagreements and struggle in getting something they need in their lives or at the work place. Because of the demands of life and the desire for self actualization, people tend to avoid impediments. If a person or anything is perceived to be an impediment to the journey of self actualization, then a conflict arises. This not only experienced by human beings but also in the animal planet, it’s only that they may not be having a conflict resolution mechanism but the jungle rule.
Another situation is when wild animals and human beings are living in bordering pieces of land as in the boundary between a national park and the general public land. In a number of cases of the world, animals are not checked and controlled by the national park management, which implies that animals may destroy or even kill human beings around that area. This is also a conflict.
However, in this paper, the discussion on conflict is based on the social world and how it is handled. That is why concentration is on conflict resolution styles. Conflict styles are patterned responses that people use in conflict. They can be viewed as having two dimensions which are assertiveness and cooperativeness (Picard, 2002).
In this manner, one can be able to assess the extent to which people attempt to satisfy other people’s needs to avoid or resolve their conflicts. These styles are pegged on personal satisfaction while making a decision of whether one has wronged the other.
Former Conflict Style
There are various conflict styles that a person can adapt. In these styles, there is one that comes naturally in a human being and it can be referred to as the default conflict style. About conflict website (2012) lists four styles of conflicts namely “avoidance, collaborating, competitive, comprising and accommodating. In a number of cases it and be necessary to apply all of them in different situations.” For the case of this paper, avoidance and collaboration are discussed.
Runde (2007) asserts that avoiding involves a low level of interest in meeting the needs of either person. An example of this type of conflict situation is when a husband asks his wife to cook for him and the wife assumes that she has not heard. The husband repeats the same question while the wife tells him that the food is in the kitchen. The husband decides to go and cook for himself and avoids confronting the real issue.
He does not ask himself why the wife does not want to cook for him. Instead, he avoids her and continues with life normally. The problem might have been solved at that point when the conflict started and could be due to some underlying issues.
However, this conflict style may look okay because everybody is for himself hence, nobody disturbs the other but it is what one may call a time bomb. The problem remains unresolved until it becomes too big to handle. A time comes when the bomb explodes and everything is exposed. It could be a better idea to confront the issue in a different way so that the problem is solved.
The reason for adopting this type of conflict style be based on a family upbringing whereby, the parents are always in conflict and the children have nothing to do about it. Therefore, the best way is to avoid the scene where mum and dad are quarrelling and move to your room.
You will definitely be back when they finish. This way, you will learn to avoid the situation unknowingly and this may be part of you. In a leadership role, this conflict style does not work well because at the end of the day, the problem has to be solved. Applying this style is very dangerous like a detonative device.
A personal experience is illustrated below. A teacher was teaching in a class of forty five students. Every time at the middle of the lesson, a student clicked and the teacher ignored because he didn’t want to get involved in finding out why somebody could click in the middle of a lesson. This went on for quite some time coupled with murmuring. The teacher still ignored his students.
This act finally degenerated to a more embarrassing and disgusting event to the teacher because the students walked out of the class while he was teaching. Later on, he realized that he was losing most of the students while he was teaching or rather delivering his content. It would have been wise for him to try to find out why the students were clicking in class. Maybe, he should have created rapport with the students so that he can get feedback so as to avoid such a situation.
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Current Conflict Style
Collaboration is a conflict style which if well used, will enable both parties to be satisfied. Lussier (2011) asserts that the key to collaborative style is agreeing that the solution picked is the best possible one. Thus, a win situation is achieved. Harmony is achieved when this approach is used, thus encouraging people to work together. In most cases, work place communication does not tickle down properly to the work force that is the lead.
Because of this conflict, usually arise from the workers and the management. The worker may decide to use avoidance conflict style and thus, affecting their performance. The management has to give notice that it needs to communicate well and in time to the employees so as to avoid a bad situation.
Through delegation of duties to the junior staff, one can be able to identify the problems that may be in the lower cadres of the work force. For best performance of the company, an agreement has to be reached by both the management and junior workers (Lussier, 2011).
In this case, the worker will be able to know what they are limited to and what their rights and responsibilities to the company. If a manager will be in a position to work with the workers and see him/herself as the team leader and not the boss then collaborative style may not work well. And this is the style to adopt in leadership.
The above conflict styles tend to explain how to handle situations before they degenerate to a crisis. If a conflict is persistent, then it needs to be resolved. And there are various ways of resolving conflicts. Depending on when and where the conflict is, the use of tools like mediation and assertion may help.
Think of a situation whereby, employees have gone on strike, the employee will first try to use assertion to make the employees go back to work. However, employees have a right to withdraw their services for better work conditions. When the strike persists, mediation technique may be used to resolve the conflict. Trade unions and the labour ministry may try to mediate between the workers and the employers.
Finally, there may be a situation whereby, the conflict cannot be resolved after applying different mechanisms of resolution. Zastrow et al. (2010) explains that when the strategies fail then, one can probably conclude that the parties involved in the conflict are not willing to resolve it.
About Conflict. (2012) Web.
Lussier, R., (2011). “Management Fundamentals: Concepts, Applications, Skill Development”. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Picard, C., (2002). “Mediating Interpersonal and Small Group Conflict”. Ottawa: Dundurn Press Ltd.
Runde, C. & Flanagan, E., (2007). “Becoming a Conflict Competent Leader: How You And Your Organization Can”. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons Publishers.
Zastrow, C. et al., (2010). “Understanding Human Behavior and the Social Environment”. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.