Describe four categories of conflict and give examples of each.
Groups are often in conflict because of facts, methods, goals and values. The root cause of the conflict, which falls into one or more of these categories, needs to be identified in order for the conflict to be resolved, (Conflict, 2012).
It is likely that a conflict can more likely be resolved over a fact, rather than when a conflict has values as its root cause. A conflict over a fact, such as “the bat is the only flying mammal,” can easily be resolved by looking up the information on the Internet to see if the bat is indeed the only flying mammal.
Conflicts that fall into the method category, are those that revolve around a person’s way of doing something. For example, a newspaper reporter may go to a photo opportunity and take photos until they find one that works. The editor may say they want more photos taken at these photo opportunities so that there are more to choose from. The reporter might think that it’s more professional and efficient to capture the photo and then leave the photo opportunity so they can return to the office to upload the photo before deadline.
A goals conflict is when two or more parties have different ideas of what the final goal could be. In keeping with the newspaper theme, that could be the goal of completing laying out the pages of a newspaper by a certain time. An editor might decide that the editorial department should stay late on a Friday, instead of laying out the pages just prior to deadline on Monday.
Values conflicts are often the most difficult to resolve. This is because values can be irrational, and can’t be swayed one way or another when a person has held those values for a long period of time. For example, a person who believes that people who don’t obey the 10 commandments will burn for an eternity in hell, can’t easily be swayed, even if a convincing and rational argument is presented. Also, even if the value is correct, it can be exceedingly challenging to prove that it is right, (Conflict, 2012).
Explain the main objectives of Conflict Resolution under the following competencies:
Conflict resolution aims to facilitate an understanding of why the conflict is arising. Those involved in conflict, and those who want to learn about conflict in case it arises, should become aware of how conflict can arise when people interact with each other. There is a necessity to understand the behavioral and phsycho-physiological aspects of conflict, (Warters, 2000). Knowledge can also help understand issues around power dynamics, understand conflict management styles, understand cultural considerations and understand how conflict escalates into more than what it needs to be.
Conflict resolution also aims to provide the skills of active listening, creating and analyzing the options, finding underlying interests and coming to desired outcomes. This provides those in conflict with a way to recognize and fix conflict when it arises. Skills could be recognized by the parties that could help them agree to work well together, (Warters, 2000). The skills that can be learned can identify a long-term agreement, find different courses of action, learn how to manage stress, and an ability to analyze consequences of each course of action.
A look at each party’s judgment on the disagreement will help with the discovery process in conflict management. Often when arguments are heated, each party isn’t thinking rationally and objectively, but they are more able to if they are encouraged to not pass judgment, and instead look at the situation for what it really is. This also falls into the skills category, because it takes some training to be able to not pass judgment on the person with whom one is in conflict. This can help prevent conflicts, resolve conflicts and reduce the intensity of conflicts.
Attitudes are the demonstration of behaviors in the attempt to come to conflict resolution, (Warters, 2000). This helps promote an attitude of neutrality, objectivity, honesty, respect and confidentiality. Under these conditions, the conflicts will likely be better managed; however, the challenging part is getting people to behave in these ways. These basic negotiation rules of principles of practice and ethics aren’t easily attained by those who have issues with their personality. The attitudes can also help resolve conflicts by not becoming defensive in negotiations, not personalizing the process, holding confidences and tolerating perspectives other than one’s own.
Describe one conflict situation that you have personally experienced.
I used to bartend at a restaurant called GiGi’s. The owner there was quite tolerant of people coming in at night and being belligerent. The restaurant was not upscale, nor was it lower classed. It was the kind of place that even I would go to for decent Italian food at a relatively low price. I was quite friendly with my customers and I got to know a few of my regulars pretty well. They were nice people and I wanted to look out for them. So, when a few young guys came into the restaurant and were drunk, swearing and acting rude, I went over to them and asked them to leave. I told them that they are disturbing the other customers in the restaurant. They begrudgingly left, after putting up a bit of an argument. I had told them I’d call the cops. When my boss got word of this, he was quite upset.
What were the issues during the conflict?
My boss said that I shouldn’t kick people out of the restaurant. He said the restaurant is open to all people and we don’t discriminate. I found what he said to be quite shocking, as I thought I had done us a service, not only to the current customers, but to future customers – because these young men wouldn’t likely return. My boss said drunk people are some of the highest paying customers, because they keep drinking when they are at the restaurant. I thought this would be a rational thing to say if the restaurant I where I was working was a grungy bar, but I had some decent customers that I wanted to look out for.
Identify the approach used to solve the conflict.
My boss started cutting my shifts after the incident. I guess the type of atmosphere that I wanted wasn’t in line with what he had in mind. Eventually I was getting one shift every two weeks, so I quit that job because I needed another. We didn’t speak a lot about the situation, as there was a bit of a language barrier. He spoke very little English, as his home language is Cantonese. I guess this is why he didn’t tell me that my shifts were going to be cut, or that he didn’t want me working at the restaurant again, which I am sure is what he was aiming for when he cut my shifts.
How could the resolution of the above conflict been changed to make it a “win-win situation?
I think it would be difficult to convince me that our restaurant should facilitate the degenerate behaviour of the drunken hoards. However, I believe if my former boss was able to recognize that facilitating such drunkenness would improve the atmosphere at the restaurant and would likely keep people coming back, we would have come to an agreement. I should admit, however, that there was a steady stream of customers every night, despite there being the occasional belligerence. I would agree that allowing these drunks into the restaurant increased the amount of money GiGi’s made. Perhaps the best solution would be what he did – to let me go – because I am not the type of person who will let drunk people disturb the nights of decent people. Our attitudes were well-intended, but we simply didn’t understand each other’s position.
What was the most difficult aspect of using the win-win conflict resolution approach?
The most difficult aspect was trying to understand the perspective of my former boss, who would rather have drunken disorderly and high profits, than no drunken disorderly and low profits. This lack of knowledge would have been extremely valuable. It was very difficult in the conflict resolution phase to communicate with my former boss, because of the language barrier. I think I may have only realized now why the boss there frowned on me kicking the people out. It would have been helpful if he explained to me his position so that I could make my own decision about whether I wanted to stay working at the restaurant or leave it in search of work elsewhere. Instead, I was left guessing the reasons why my shifts were being cut, until several months later when I realized that my former boss likely didn’t want me working there anymore. Each of us lacked the listening skill, because we were unable to understand each other.
Conflict. (2012) Scribd.
Warters, B. (2005, Nov. 11). Collaboration and Conflict Resolution Skills: A Core Academic
Competency? Wayne State University.