Conflict is a part of our everyday experience. The most usual patterns we learn in the family, in the school and community as well as experiences in the work place teach us certain rules of behaviour and ways to deal with conflict. These ways are different and extreme: in some cultures it is recommended to avoid the conflict, in others it is viewed as cowardice. The various ways members of the same family or the same group deal with conflict are also quite different. There is a great difference between these ways and the way the conflicts are treated and resolved in the court. What is generally taken as an unwritten ground rule is that every conflict is resolved in a way that one side wins and the other loses. In the beginning it is hard to imagine cooperative conflict resolution, where there are no winners and losers but where all sides win.
We teach young people from the very first moment of their birth that conflicts are mostly resolved by authorities: parents, teachers, leaders of the street gang, or by a judge, policeman, boss, director, president. If there is none to intervene the "stronger" will win and the "weaker" will lose. Likewise, Malhotra and Bazerman (2007) suggest that the desire to ‘‘win” can lead disputants to pursue costly litigation even when a less antagonistic strategy would lead to better outcomes. Young people should be encouraged to seek a conflict resolution by... [continues]
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