The Nature of Conflict
Conflict: Varied Perspectives; Belief Systems and Values; Interests There is, perhaps, nothing more common than conflict. As a mediator, conflict may constructively be viewed as resulting from: •
varied perspectives on the situation;
differing belief systems and values resulting from participant's accumulated life experience and conditioning; and •
differing objectives and interests.
Effectively dealing with conflict requires the expression and management of participants' varying perspectives, interests, belief systems and values. It is important to meet the participants exactly where they are. Hear from them fully before tying to lead them anywhere. You can not effectively move toward resolution until each participant experiences themselves to be heard on "their perspective," "what they want," and "why." Common Ground - Overlapping Interests and Interdependence Along with their sometimes too well-known differences, people in conflict share much common ground, including: •
overlapping interests -- participants share in their own relationship, typically have common friends and colleagues, and also have interest in resolving the conflict in an expeditious and economic way; •
interdependence -- no single participant has the ability to unilaterally impose a resolution on another without paying a very substantial price for doing so; and •
points of agreement -- even when there are many disputed issues, there may still be a number of points of agreement or possible agreement. The wise mediator assists the parties to identify what they may be easily able to agree on as a foundation for additional discussions. The Evolutionary Nature of Conflict Through the integration of participants' perspectives, interests, belief systems and values, conflict and conflict resolution play important roles in individual and social evolution and development. Conflict arises when one or more participants view the current system as not working. At...
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