There are many ways through which people can resolve conflicts between warring factions. These warring factions can be as few as two individuals, or they might be large people groups like countries. However, the ways of resolving conflicts do not all work in any one given situation? A person or groups of people ought to decide upon which the best way of resolving a given conflict is. A model of dual concern might be assumed where an individual tries to strike a balance between the concern he has for other people and the concern he has for himself. On the one hand he may choose to be assertive and have things done his way. On the other hand, he may choose to be empathetic, and do things according to the way the other person feels things ought to be done.
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When engaged in a conflicting situation, some people might decide to resolve the conflict by staying aloof of the problem (Bayazit & Mannix., 2003). To these people staying aloof is the best way of letting things get resolved. They prefer no active participation in seeing to it that the situation is resolved. They do not care much about what other people feel in the circumstances. They do not think much about their personal feelings either. High conflict situations are not best resolved with this kind of approach, however, because things can easily run out of control.
An example of such a situation is when a group of employees go on strike and the management sits back to see what might happen, without taking any active role in what is going on. The strike might escalate into such bad situations as burning of company assets by the disgruntled employees or even roughing up of the employers. A bad situation grows worse in that case, because the employees feel that the aloofness of the management does not address their concerns. The management, however, feels that the assertiveness of the employees ought to have been toned down. If consensus could be reached between the two parties it would be at the point where the management has taken an active role in addressing the employees’ grievances. The employees, on the other hand, ought not to be greatly aggrieved, seeing that at least their cries are being heard by a management that cares for them. It is rather unfortunate that a number of people who fall into this trap are the so called faithful. They let things be, and say to themselves and to others that things shall be sorted out by divine intervention (Van de Vliert & Euwema, 1994). However, things ought to be done differently, because not everyone has the same beliefs or religious leanings. Many people sere different deities and some believe in a deity that asks them to help themselves before deity comes to their aid. Therefore, instead of their faith being a source of respite, it fuels the flames of conflict for some people.
Another way of resolving conflict is by adorning a compromising attitude (Goldfien & Robbennolt, 2007). Such an attitude says to oneself and to others that it is good to be fair to both sides of the conflict. Such people are ready to listen to the arguments on both sides and to yield a bit to the demands of the other side. They also expect the other side of the conflict to yield to some of their demands, hence being fair. In the case study above, for example, the employees would be expected to yield to some of the demands of management while the management also gives in to some of the demands of its employees. Ideally, not all demands from each side shall be met, but a balance can be struck wherein some of the wants from each side shall be addressed (Kolb & Williams, 2010). Like in the previous case, the more assertive of the two groups will be expected to yield a bit, by being conciliatory. This will be expected of the employees who hold the management in ransom by their actions. Being fair would not see the employees flare up into a fracas situation of burning and looting. Being fair would also see the management taking an active role in the resolution of the conflict rather than sitting back and watching as situation change from bad to worse.
Conflict does not have to be a bad thing or a nasty experience. Where there are two or more people interacting with different interests at heart, disagreements are inevitable. However, such disagreements might be a source for better understanding of each other and even greater cohesion. In the workplace scenario above, conflict might have arisen out of one employee’s obsession with letting the management know about everything that goes on while they are not being watched. The conflict of interests comes in with the other employees being opposed to close supervision. It is further aggravated by the fact that one of their peers would like to make a good name for oneself by making the rest of them look bad in the presence of their superiors.
Solving such a conflict might require one to have high levels of assertiveness as well as empathy. With these traits he can easily cooperate with his contenders to reach an amicable solution to their conflict. Such an individual is not only interested in his own welfare but has a heightened interest in the welfare of the people he contends with, as well (Sternberg & Dobson, 1987). He shall cooperate with the other people to find a solution with which they shall all be agreeable. His cooperation might tend to favor the side of the fellow employees, or it might be in favor of the management. However, what would a person caught in the middle of such a conflict do? Through discussion with both parties, people get to be aware of the points of views that their contenders have. In effect, they do not undermine the goals of each other.
There are three possible outcomes to any conflict resolution endeavor. Each of these outcomes depends on how the conflict resolution exercise is carried out. In the first place, a conflict resolution exercise might work in favor of both sides concerned. Since both parties win in the end, this is called a win-win situation (Covey, 2004). The first type of conflict resolution that was mentioned in this dialogue would never amount to a win-win situation. Not both parties win in the end. This is because one of the parties stays aloof from the goings on of the resolution process.
Since its stand is neither here nor there, it becomes rather difficult to tell whether things are going the way they should for this group of people. Whether they win or lose is not the issue for this group, but rather, they only want tranquility in the end. They want peace but they are not ready to work or to fight for it. Maybe, therefore, one might be right in assuming that when peace prevails in the end, then that is a win situation for the people who do not want to stand up for what they believe in. It may be rightly opined that these people are cowards who do not have enough spine with which to face up to other people, even though they might be transgressed against.
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A win-win result of conflict resolution is the best result that one can achieve. It results in greater cohesion among group members than before the conflict caused a rift between them. They also get to learn more about each other’s way of thinking and what things can cause them to be drawn apart. In future, they will not fear conflicting situations, but they would rather strive to keep away from those things that divide them. They will strive for those things that cause them to be drawn closer together as a single unit.
The other result of a conflict resolution is where one side wins and the other loses. In such a case, no workable consensus has been reached. One side of the conflict is way too aggressive while the other is too empathetic. The aggressive side is bound to have its way over the empathetic side. Thus, the aggressive side wins while the empathetic side loses. This example of a scenario is called a win-lose (Covey, 2004) situation because one side wins while the other side loses. It would be likened to an employer-employee conflict situation in which the employee has a field day over the employer, with all the employee’s demands being met. The employer’s demands, on the other hand are not heeded to. Otherwise, the employer might be too high handed towards the employee. Following such a situation, the employer ends up sacking the employee for reasons such as insubordination.
In the latter case, where neither the employer nor the employee wins in the argument between them, it is called a lose-lose situation (Covey, 2004). Neither the demands from the employer to be respected for the role he plays in the life of the employee, nor the demands of the employee are met in the end. Both the employer and the employee are losers in the conflict with which they were involved.
In conclusion, this paper has addressed two types of conflict resolution and three possible outcomes of the same. To recap it all, first, there is conflict resolution wherein one side stands aloof from the proceedings while hoping that things will just work themselves out in the end. Secondly, there is the active participation on the one side of the conflict where one takes a very empathetic stand. The said person also does not forget his own needs in the process. Depending on how assertive or how empathetic a certain side of the conflict might be, there can be up to three possible outcomes to the effort of conflict resolution. A conflict can be solved very amicably, resulting in a win-win situation. It might be solved by one side stepping down from its demands, thereby being a win-lose situation. Otherwise, both sides of the conflict end up losing in the confusion.
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