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4 May 2022

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Conflict is often unavoidable, it is inescapable and in many organisations, it is a healthy expression of creativity, diversity and change. Conflict can exist between two or more individuals or within groups who perceive their goal to be incompatible. Incompatible goals can include needs, values and interests. At TCM, we view conflict as the result of loss which arises from these unmet needs. As with grief, the parties in dispute experience:

  • Stage 1: Shock, Denial, Numbness
  • Stage 2: Fear, Anger, Depression
  • Stage 3: Understanding, Acceptance, Moving

(For more information on loss in conflict and our reaction to it, click here) Other definitions of conflict describe it as a result of hostile behaviour or/and including incompatible goals. This results in a “unique” type of conflict behaviour where individuals demonstrate destructive responses to conflict in order to achieve their own goal. It is the destructive conflict behaviour that causes damage to the relationship between the parties.

Mediation aims to get to the root cause of conflict by helping the party in a dispute to understand their own needs and interests and also that of the other party. The overall aim is to bring those goals closer together in order to understand the common ground to enable the parties to reach agreement.

Further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict » www.ohrd.wisc.edu/onlinetraining/resolution/aboutwhatisit.htm

References Bartos, Otomar J, and Wehr, Paul., (2002), Using Conflict Theory, Cambridge University Press, USA