Nature of Conflict
Conflict: Varied Perspectives; Belief Systems and Values; Interests
There is, perhaps, nothing more common than conflict. As a mediator, conflict may constructively be viewed as resulting from:
Effectively dealing with conflict requires the expression and management of participants' varying perspectives, interests, belief systems and values. It is important to meet the participants exactly where they are. Hear from them fully before tying to lead them anywhere. You can not effectively move toward resolution until each participant experiences themselves to be heard on "their perspective," "what they want," and "why."
Along with their sometimes too well-known differences, people in conflict share much common ground, including:
Through the integration of participants' perspectives, interests, belief systems and values, conflict and conflict resolution play important roles in individual and social evolution and development. Conflict arises when one or more participants view the current system as not working. At least one party is sufficiently dissatisfied with the status quo that they are willing to own the conflict and speak up with the hope of being able to influence the situation to arrive at an improved condition. Conflict may be viewed as a process we put ourselves through to achieve a new condition and self definition. Through conflict we have opportunities to be creatively self-defining. If nothing else, conflict allows us to do things differently in the future. Through the resolution of conflict, we can, if we choose, evolve and redefine ourselves, our relationships, our community, our society and our world. It is no accident that we most often find ourselves in conflict with those with whom we spend the most time -- family, friends, business associates, and fellow organizational members. There is a great benefit, in terms of the quality of our lives, in being able to constructively resolve conflict with those around us.
Conflict should also be recognized as existing at two levels:
In addition to the typically obvious interpersonal dispute, there almost always exists some measure of intra-personal conflict within each disputing party as that party seeks to assert varied, sometimes contradictory, interests. This inner conflict may be evidenced by confusion, inconsistency or lack of congruity. In this condition, the participant has failed to effectively integrate their various "parts" or "voices" to achieve an effective and comfortable representation of personal interests.
Conflict Resolution represents a convergence of means (or arrangements for the future), not necessarily participants' interests or perspectives. Participants will commonly come to support the same arrangement or agreement for very different reasons. Conflict resolution does not necessarily resolve tensions between parties. Conflict resolution may simply sufficiently align matters to allow each participant to make enough progress toward his or her desired ends to prefer declaring there to be a "a state of agreement" rather than the uncertain and stressful "state of disagreement."