How conflicts arise
When you consider what a diverse society we live in, with so many different backgrounds, perspectives and approaches to life, it is not surprising that conflict is established as part and parcel of our everyday life. This is because people will have competing interests and competing perspectives in relation to the same issues, and so we should not be surprised when tensions exist between individuals and groups. The idea of ever achieving a society with no conflict is clearly a pipedream. However, this is not necessarily a problem, as conflict can also be creative and constructive. Many important changes in our society and in the organisations in which we work have occurred as a result of conflicts. The important question, then, is not so much: 'How do we create a world without conflict?', but, rather: 'How do we manage conflict as constructively and positively as we possibly can?'. Conflict is concerned with difference. If we were all the same, then there would be little or no conflict. However, thankfully we are not all the same, and so part of the price that we pay for the richness of diversity is that conflicts will arise at certain times. Conflict can be seen to arise from the incompatibility of aims between individuals and/or groups - that is, what I am trying to achieve and what you are trying to achieve. If they are significantly different, they can lead us into conflict. Two main problems can arise there. First, we may feel uneasy about the conflict and the tensions that it raises, and therefore try to pretend it is not there, to fudge the issue or brush it under the carpet. This can lead to significant problems in so far as the situation may be allowed to fester and go on for a much longer period than is necessary if we are not prepared to deal with it and move on. Second, we may cause problems by dealing with the conflict in a way which escalates the tensions between us. For example, rather than deal with any conflicts between us...
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