A conflict is a clash of interest. The basis of conflict may vary but it is always a part of society. Conflict in groups often follows a specific course. Routine party interaction is first disrupted by an initial conflict, often caused by differences of opinion, disagreements between parties, or scarcity of resources. At this point, the parties are no longer united, and may split into coalitions. This period of conflict escalation in some cases gives way to a conflict resolution stage, after which the parties can eventually return to routine party interaction.
There are two types of conflict, content, and relational conflict. Content conflict is where individuals disagree about how to deal with a certain issue. Content conflict can be beneficial, increasing motivation and stimulating discussion. And relational conflict is where individuals disagree about one another. Relational conflicts decrease performance, loyalty, satisfaction, and commitment; and causes individuals to be irritable, negative, and suspicious.
Conflict resolution is conceptualized as the methods and processes involved in facilitating the peaceful ending of conflict and retribution. Committed parties attempt to resolve conflicts by actively communicating information about their conflicting motives or ideologies to the other parties by engaging in collective negotiation.
Dimensions of resolution typically parallel the dimensions of conflict in the way the conflict is processed. Cognitive resolution is the way disputants understand and view the conflict, with beliefs, perspectives, understandings, and attitudes. Emotional resolution is in the way disputants feel about a conflict, the emotional energy. Behavioral resolution is reflective of how the disputants act, their behavior.
Ultimately a wide range of methods and procedures for addressing conflict exist, including negotiation, mediation, mediation-arbitration, diplomacy, and creative peacebuilding. The term conflict resolution may also be used interchangeably with dispute resolution, where arbitration and litigation processes are critically involved. The concept of conflict resolution can be thought to encompass the use of nonviolent resistance measures by conflicted parties to promote effective resolution.
A conflict is a common phenomenon; as mentioned before, it can occur because of the most different grounds of diversity and under very different circumstances. However, it is usually a matter of interests, needs, priorities, goals, or values interfering with each other. And conflict is often, a result of different perceptions more than actual differences. Conflicts may involve team members, departments, projects, organization and client, boss and subordinate, organization needs vs. personal needs. And conflicts are usually immersed in complex relations of power that need to be understood and interpreted to define the more tailored way to manage the conflict.
There are, nevertheless, some main approaches that may be applied when trying to solve a conflict that may lead to very different outcomes to be valued according to the situation and the available negotiation resources. Collaborating may be the best solution when consensus and commitment of other parties is important. Collaborating is best when the conflict occurs in a collaborative, trustworthy environment and when it is required to address the interests of multiple stakeholders. But more specially, it is the most desirable outcome when a long-term relationship is important so that parties can continue to collaborate in a productive way.
Collaborating is in few words, sharing responsibilities and mutual commitment. For parties involved, the outcome of the conflict resolution is less stressful. However, the process of finding and establishing a win-win solution may be longer and should be very involving.
Win-Win / Collaborating: Collaboration involves an attempt to work with the other part involved in the conflict to find a win-win solution to the problem in hand, or at least to find a solution that most satisfies the concerns of both parties. The win-win approach sees conflict resolution as an opportunity to come to a mutually beneficial result; and it includes identifying the underlying concerns of the opponents and finding an alternative which meets each party’s concerns. From that point of view, it is the most desirable outcome when trying to solve a problem for all partners.
Even once a conflict is resolved conflict may return. Conflict management is the process of limiting the negative aspects of conflict while increasing the positive aspects of conflict. The aim of conflict management is to enhance learning and party outcomes, including effectiveness or performance of a settlement agreement. Properly managed conflict can improve party outcomes.
Special consideration should be paid to conflict management between two parties from distinct cultures. In addition to the everyday sources of conflict, misunderstandings of cultural differences in communication practices, traditions, and thought processing may add up conflict.
Conflict is rarely seen as constructive. However, in certain contexts, moderate levels of conflict are being mutually beneficial, facilitating understanding, tolerance, learning, and effectiveness. Conflict is beneficial in groups and committees to avoid the error of group think.