The Role And Importance Of Conflict Management Skills
Conflict triangle has three major components that influence each other, the context or the situation at hand, the behavior of the people from that situation and their attitude. For instance, a situation that does not pay attention to the needs of a particular group can make them to have the attitude of frustration and may make them protest (Levinson,1994). This behavior can further lead to context of denials where the group does not accept that they are ignored and their situation is not being attended to thus contributing to further frustration leading to eruption of violence. In Kenya, West Pokot and their neighbors have been fighting over grazing land for a long time. Taking this situation as the example, the people of West Pokot and their neighbors have been demanding for boundary review so each group can have clear grazing land without trespassing to each other’s place (Mosoge, 2013). This demand has been ignored causing attitude of frustration from both side. They then developed the behavior f denying the knowledge of the boundary that exists between them making each of them to graze from any side. These led to more anger and frustration hence the violence that has been witnessed between then for a long time.
If the government and the people concerned would have changed the context by paying attention to the demands, the level of frustration would have reduced and violence prevented. The work that could have been done to reduce the conflict could have changed their behavior hence bringing peace (Wang, Qiao, Zhang & Xiang, 2017).
The conflict triangle is also referred to as ABC triangle, which is a framework, used for exploring the causes as well as the impact of conflicts. Any of the three elements of the conflict triangle can start be the starting point of a conflict. It is an excellent model that helps understand conflict, what is driving and how it can be deescalated(Mosoge, 2013. In assessing cause of conflict using the ABC triangle of Attitude, Behavior and Context, it is important to look at how all these three components caused conflict, as only then can the conflict be resolved(Wang, Qiao, Zhang & Xiang, 2017).
People or a group can have a negative attitude towards the other actors of the conflict for a number of reasons. It can be due to the fear of losing power as in the case of the conflict that have rocked Kenya every elections as the incumbents would do anything to keep themselves in power in every election(Mosoge, 2013. Their attitude therefore pushes the other opposition contenders to act in a way that is provoking to the other party hence the conflict. In such a situation, solving conflict needs to have a common ground with both actors agreeing to shelve their interest and differences for the sake of peace. Resentment about historical wrongs can also be part of the attitude that can cause conflict(Levinson,1994). For instance, the Kenyan coast has complaint of historical injustice and at some point argued that the coastal part of Kenya is actually not part of the country. Additionally, negative stereotypes among actors or certain group in the society can also lead to conflict among the actors. Ethnic or religious hatred is another example of attitude that can cause conflict(Wang, Qiao, Zhang & Xiang, 2017). This for instance has been the case in Kenya every election. The ethnic hatred has been evident with the insults that have been exchanged among different ethnic groups supporting various political parties. In fact Kenya conflict after elections especially what was experienced in the 2007/2008 elections was a perfect example of how attitude of hatred among ethnic communities can be a cause of conflicts. Religious hatred has also been experienced with some section of Muslim terrorists killing Christians in the northern part of Kenya.
Behavior can be described as the reactions from the attitude portrayed by the actors of the conflict or the response to the main contentious issues of the conflict. Some examples of behavior includes riots, bombing or denial of human rights(Wang, Qiao, Zhang & Xiang, 2017). For instance, in response to election rigging and other injustices, Kenyans have taken to the streets to protests for and demand for justice. Riots have been witnessed even with the last election of 2017/2018.
In response to attitude of religious hatred, especially among the Muslim terrorists, they have shown these behavior by bombing and killing Christians especially northern part of Kenya whose majority of habitants are Muslims. Additional to the examples of behavior, the incumbent governments in fear of losing power would arrest some of those opposing their government and denying them human rights as the case of Miguna Miguna.
Context or situation are the main cause of conflict or the object to which the conflict oscillate. They are the main causes of attitude and behavior towards the other party to conflict. The attitude of ethnic hatred can be caused by the feeling of unequal representation and treatment in the political system(Wang, Qiao, Zhang & Xiang, 2017). It is where one community feels the other dominates political rule over them and the efforts to take over often met with unjust system that manipulate everything in their favor. In such a case, unequal political representation becomes the situation or context for conflict. Another example of context or situation in a conflict triangle is the scarce of natural resources in West Pokot County where they have been fighting with their neighbours over grazing land. In such a case, the lack of natural resources and no clear boundary causes the attitude of hatred among the communities, which thereafter result to the behaviour of fighting. The context or the situations are the issues can causes frustrations because they are not addressed as expected by the communities(Mosoge, 2013. If the context or situation remains unattended to for a long time, the actors of conflict forms attitude towards each other that might not be favouring and as time goes by, the actors can bottle their anger but still have the negative attitude towards each other and only waiting for any issues that would make the express such anger and frustration through a behaviour that results in a conflict such as riots, fighting among others.
The conflict triangle or the ABC analysis of conflict is a useful tool for peace building actors to help in understanding of the concept, impacts, causes of the conflict as well as the challenges at community level, national level, and even international level. The ABC or the conflict triangle is vital in understanding, who is involved and how they are involved including those behind the scenes, the dynamics of the conflict and how each party plays their part(Mosoge, 2013. All these provide a detailed picture of the happenings to help peace building team in crafting appropriate resolutions that would bring peace(Wang, Qiao, Zhang & Xiang, 2017). The triangle help assess the unmet needs by analyzing the attitudes of the actors, their behaviour and relating it to the context, or the situation causing conflict. Only this way can the needs of those involved in conflict be solved and satisfied. Attitude, which is mostly affected by behaviour, makes it difficult for the parties involved to realise the mutual benefit of ending the conflict. ABC triangle, therefore is a systematic way of assessing the situation and in thinking about what can be done to change the situation or ways to deal with the driving forces of the conflict(Levinson,1994). It requires that actors to a conflict must change their attitude first o reach some sort of settlement. Their perception of one another must therefore be changed to make it easy to meet their needs as far as conflict is concerned. Additionally, the actors have to change their behaviour and help those tasked with peace building to work on the resolutions and the objective or the causes of conflict. It is only through observation of the attitude and behaviour that one would understand the root cause of conflict. Most of the time, the context can be just something that has just opened old wounds and not necessarily the root cause(Wang, Qiao, Zhang & Xiang, 2017). For instance, World War II was caused by the assignation of Archduke Ferdinand, however issues like arms race, the need for revenge of what happened in World War I were the root cause and the killing of Ferdinand was like a match box that lighten up already existing issues. The attitude of rival camps of World War I and need to compete on that has the best weapon escalated the whole issue.
ABC triangle assesses all the dynamic of conflict given the context. It often begin with people and with the attitude and behaviour, conflict can viewed in here stages. First is the confrontation when the conflict is now more open, crisis level when the tension and the conflict has become more intense and the outcome (Mosoge, 2013. Mostly the outcome of a conflict has never been desirable and it is the reason peace building committees are formulated to make find permanent or long lasting changes to the attitude and behaviour of the parties to a conflict. All is only possible through careful study of ABC triangle of the conflict (Wang, Qiao, Zhang & Xiang, 2017).
In every human interaction, misunderstanding is inevitable. It is a normal situation for human co-existence. Conflict is therefore a normal and healthy in any relationship and human interaction. However, when misunderstanding escalates to conflict, it means it here is failure by either party to compromise for the sake of peace (DiGrazia, 2017). Not all misunderstanding results into a conflict but where conflict and because conflict cannot be avoided a times, it is necessary for human beings to acquire skills in conflict management. If the conflicts are not managed well, it can cause harm to the society or the relationship. There are a number of reasons why it is necessary for human beings to learn the conflict resolution skills.
To begin with, in a workplace, conflict can render the organization unproductive when the employee and employer disagrees. More productive time will be wasted as the two actors fails to reach an agreement. Managing conflict is therefore a necessary skill that both employer and employees need. Those who have no knowledge of conflict resolution do not understand that conflict can escalate so fast and cause harm to both parties. Also they may not understand that conflict can be resolved quickly as it comes (Justwan, 2017). Human beings usually have different perception of the world and these results to different reaction of events and issues in their environment. Also people have different values that dictate how they would deal with issues and misunderstanding between them and other parties to a conflict. This is normal and is expected in every environment where people of different backgrounds, cultures and races interact. It is expected to that disagreement will result in such a setting in any society around the world. However if the disagreements are not resolved, in a collaborative way that satisfy the need of every party, and left to fester, then there would be opportunity for the conflict to escalate and turn to war(DiGrazia, 2017). Leaders in every society who have no conflict resolution skills will end up not being effective and would not achieve their defined role in the society they lead. Also, there will be more trouble managing people who cannot coexist peacefully. The unresolved conflict will also have a lasting negative effect on the relationship among people in the society; it will also erode the leader relationship with the subjects(Lead & Innovations, 2015). For example, the South Sudan and the northern part of Sudan had conflict for a long time. The two sides fought for a long time. a simple misunderstanding that was not resolved led to eruption of ethnic war among the citizens of the two regions. It went on for a long time because the leaders of both sides failed to agree. They had no skills and knowledge in conflict management. The war went on for a long time(DiGrazia, 2017). The citizens suffered, most of them were displaced and some moved to neighboring countries as refugees. It took the attention of the world leaders to help resolved the conflict between the two regions of Sudan and the end result was the division of the country into two regions, Sudan and South Sudan. It means the conflict between these two regions eroded their trust of each other, decreased their motivation to live together, and lowered their morale of peaceful coexistence. The years and period of war also reduced the productivity of the nation plunging it to an economic crisis. In an organization setting, conflict can result into absenteeism, and employees quitting their roles(DiGrazia, 2017). The stress level of employees would also increased hence affecting their performance in the organization. Additionally, where there is lack of conflict resolution skills, employees or the parties involved would resort to legal action. In so doing, there will be large sums of money and resources pumped into legal proceedings, both parties would loss economically for failure t have amicable solution to their conflicts and issues. When conflict are not resolved for lack of skills to manage conflicts, the differences among the parties to a conflict would grow like mould, and the long such differences lasts, he greater the effort will be needed to solve it(Justwan, 2017).
Also, conflicts are usually viewed as symptoms of an underlying issue and big problem that people or an organization is dealing with and not just a problem itself. In firms, conflict can be a sign f weak organizational design or ineffective communication. Therefore conflict resolution skills through ABC will recognize these problems and help solve them permanently(Justwan, 2017). Also, conflict resolutions skills will not only solve conflict among the warring parties but also identify the dysfunctional organizational culture in an organization and help in creating a culture that does not only create a peaceful environment but also a functional and productive organization. When people have conflict management skills in an organization, they will address the issues rather than conflict itself(DiGrazia, 2017). It is people that are the main reason for interpersonal and organizational or societal conflict; the conflict management skill will help in shaping the way people make decision and communicate in a society and an organization. Also conflict management skill is important in increasing knowledge of difference between people of different cultural background, and even race.
Conflict also occurs when people do not have effective communication, and mostly focusing on personalities rather than issues at hand. The conflict management skills help people to have knowledge of the benefit of peace and also making them to focus on issues that can cause conflict rather than personalities.
Conflict management skills is vital in not only bringing an end to existing conflict but also give people knowledge to adjust to some extent, compromise their interest and find solutions to the issues rather than cribbing to fighting. People will realize that conflict and disagreements only lead to negativity and people will not reach a conclusion in whatever they is causing conflict among them. Having conflict management skills is also important in resolving issues in the right time before escalating to tension and big fights(Justwan, 2017). This is because the skills to management the conflict will have better understanding of issues before they done ugly and help each party the role they are playing to cause conflict. It means they are able to prevent the conflict before it erupts (Lead & Innovations, 2015). This does not only promote a peaceful coexistence, it also helpful in building a more productive society that is with culture of respect among the individuals. There will be long term peace because people understand the benefit of peace and also in their workplace, environment and even country.
Conflict management skills also go a long way in strengthening the bonds among people living, working or interacting in a given environment. This will automatically solve some problems that would have caused conflict among them. Those in workplace will feel motivated with to work more as there will be peaceful working relationship where everything is handled well and everyone’s concern is solved in a respectable manner(Lead & Innovations, 2015). Everyone enjoys working in an organization where there is zero conflict, the relationship among employees and the management team is peaceful. It gives employees the confidence and morale to even give their best. In a society, peace would promote prosperity both socially and economically because those who have conflict management skills would be helpful in maintaining peace and always acting swiftly to any issue arising before it escalates to a point it cannot be managed or hurt people and economy. The conflict management skills also contribute to stress reduction in organization and society(Lead & Innovations, 2015). In personal lives, conflict management plays role in enhancing relationships among different people that would have otherwise been spoiled by fights and conflicts. People would exist peaceful at their homes and the cases of domestic violence would have been history rather than a crisis as it in most societies around the world.
Having conflict management skills help in finding middle way, and alternative to every problem that would have caused fight in the society. Problems can be addressed at the right time and hence preventing eruption of a fight or war and the adverse effect thereafter. It is also better to have the conflict avoided through the use of conflict management skills rather than having to deal with consequences of the war later(Justwan, 2017). It means properties and other assets that would have been lost through conflict management skills.
In conclusion, it is necessary for everyone in a society to have conflict management skills. This way, there will be peaceful coexistence as everyone will have a clear understanding of peace and even consequences of conflicts both socially and economically. The issues that might arise in a society and escalate to conflict would have been resolved in the right time. In a workplace, if everyone has the conflict management skills, it means there will be peace and the team would be more productive, and motivated to work better. In a society, conflict management skills will bring a prosperous people through peaceful coexistence and focus.
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