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Conflict Theory and Resolution

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Conflict is a very usual aspect in any society. In fact, it’s a main branch in the philosophies of sociology. Relations between human beings are bound to eventually involve conflict, either subtly or strongly. The construction industry is not spared of this vital challenge in human engagement. Conflict theories are perspectives in sociology and social psychology that emphasize a materialist interpretation of history, dialectical method of analysis, a critical stance toward existing social arrangements, and political program of revolution or, at least, reform. Conflict theories draw attention to power differentials, such as class conflict, and generally contrast historically dominant ideologies. It is therefore a macro-level analysis of society.

The word conflict has been derived from a Latin word ‘Conflicts’ which means ‘strike two things at the same time’. According to Colman, ‘A conflict is the anticipated frustration entailed in the choice of either alternative’. Conflicts occur in the individual when more than one, equally powerful desires or motives present at the same time and pressurize for immediate satisfaction.

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Conflict between a main/sub contractor and a client, or the client’s architect is different from a tenant intending to sue an engineer in tort for a destructive structural failure. The dynamics of conflict will differ with different types and scopes of project, procurement systems, legal structures and personnel. The tendency of contracts to cause dispute emanates from the externality of interpretation. In Clegg’s words; contracts cannot “specify their own indexicality” by providing how they will be read or used. Langford, Kennedy and Sommerville30 agree that “conflict between contracting companies may be inevitable”.

The general nature of construction processes makes conflict inevitable. To great extent, it may be undrstood as ‘pragmatic’, as compared with the ‘long-term strategic’. The first says ‘conflict exists without cease’. We may avoid or reduce it if possible, but the core question is, how do we handle it?” The ‘long term strategists’ which include several of the authors in the academia, don’t find the inevitability of conflict a lustrous matter and are rather keen on sorting the attitudes and cultural practices in the field industry and its professions which birth disputes. Bearing that a degree of conflict is necessary, is this fundamentally negative? The authors concentrate on the paralysing impacts of conflict. Most of the journals on evitability of disputes are forecast upon negative consequences succeeding them. Turner Wright opines “diminishing project performance levels induced by non-interaction, frustration and non-aligned perceptions of each other’s and the project’s goals”

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Conflict Theory and Resolution. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from
“Conflict Theory and Resolution.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
Conflict Theory and Resolution. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Sept. 2023].
Conflict Theory and Resolution [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 09 [cited 2023 Sept 25]. Available from:
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