Theories of Conflict Resolution

Professionals in any field may benefit from learning how to resolve conflicts amicably. Whether working in a cubicle or out in the field, one is always at risk for incivility. Learning how to resolve conflicts amongst others teaches vital skills that improve health and productivity, such as communicating effectively and putting aside differences of opinion to achieve common ground. Differentiating between arbitrage and mediation is just one facet of a much broader field known as resolving conflicts.

Developing such a nuanced set of abilities may pave the road to a successful professional life. It is not simply about knowing how to have uncomfortable talks. See below to find out what we mean by "dispute resolution" because it is crucial.

What is Conflict Resolution?

A conflict is resolved when an acceptable agreement is made between all sides. Effective problem resolution is not aimed at preventing conflicts since disputes are a natural component of human interaction. Instead, talents in resolving conflict are utilized to open lines of communication, deepen mutual comprehension, and rein in negative feelings.

Theories of Conflict Resolution

It includes −

Conflict Curve

History is full of conflicts that were eventually resolved, and there has been discussion over whether such resolutions should be amicable or coercive. For most people, avoiding violence and finding peaceful solutions to conflicts are preferable. The scientific model's dispute settlement curve encourages parties to reach a peaceful agreement. A quarrel that is resolved by force may only serve to spark new conflict later on. The dispute settlement curve divides conflict management strategies into competitive and conciliatory. At least one side of this curve may reach some understanding of their aggressor's goal. On CRC, they reach similar conclusions regarding their horribleness and goodwill. The first step in establishing a settlement is for the warring parties to agree on at least some of the CRC's negotiating objectives. Unless the hostility of the assailant is particular, CRC somehow does not exist. Under such conditions, it may lead to doomsday with equal annihilation. The curve illustrates why peaceful protests may bring down oppressive governments and even coerce rulers into making policy changes. Also, this approach has been employed to identify conflict types on the Korean Peninsula and the dynamism of bilateral negotiations.

Dual Model

Care for oneself and caring for others are at the heart of a dual conceptual starting of resolving conflicts. This theoretical stance proposes that people's favoured approaches to resolving disagreements are grounded in these two fundamental principles. The concept suggests that for a group to function well, its individuals must maintain a balance between looking out for their objectives and those of the community. People's unique approaches to resolving conflicts emerge at the junction of these two aspects. Based upon their propensity to pursue either selfish or altruistic ends, people may choose between five distinct approaches to resolving conflicts, as outlined by the double paradigm.

Conflict Strategy

Schelling's "strategies of confrontation" examines how people negotiate and adopt "disagreement behaviour" during violent conflict. The principles of behavioural economics provide the foundation of this concept. In "A Readjustment of Behavioural Economics," Stein explains how to obtain an edge over an adversary by shifting the focal point of the Syrian conflict.

Relationship Theory

Unlike traditional psychological approaches, Baxter and Montgomery's idea of computed using the following examines how both people and groups utilize language to resolve disagreements and ambiguity in interpersonal interactions. This idea emphasizes the need for synchronized discourse to preserve a connection despite the inevitable tensions that may occur. According to RDT, couples experience conflict because their personalities are at odds with one another, and their interactions are dynamic or constantly shifting.

Approach to Conflict

As was previously said, workplace conflicts may arise from various sources, including but not limited to differences in opinion and personal styles. Disagreements arise when two parties have divergent agendas, objectives, or beliefs. These disagreements are generally the consequence of misunderstandings rather than main distinctions. Conflicts can arise between members of a team, between departments, between projects, between an organization and a customer, between a leader and the team, or between the requirements of the company as well as an individual's wants.

Pressure to Conflict

Whenever a side in a dispute insists on pursuing its own goals, despite the other's objections. The term "competitive" refers to any situation in which one party tries to gain an advantage by promoting its agenda at the other party's cost or consistently blocking the other party's attempts to achieve its goals. Whenever all other, less violent means have failed; when one must defend his or her liberties; or when faced with overwhelming forces or pressure, violent action could be necessary. As a last resort, when all other options have failed, swift settlement is necessary, and the use of force is warranted. It may be a viable choice. Trying to force, on the contrary hand, may have unfavourable long-term consequences for the relationship with the opposing player, may escalate the dispute if the opposing player chooses to respond in kind, does not permit making effective use of the other team's situation, as well as, finally, has the potential to energy-intensive and tiring for some people.

Sacrificing the Conflict

In contrast to the win-win compromise, this conclusion involves the parties to the disagreement finding a mutually agreeable solution to both sides. This may happen as a result of two people talking to each other and trying to see things from someone else's perspective. A compromise may be the best option when the stakes are low to medium and more forceful or involved methods are not warranted to achieve the aims. It may be an excellent preliminary stage when participants do not know each other very well or still need to share a high degree of mutual regard. It could be helpful when achieving interim resolution on complex matters. In a pinch, a compromise might be the quickest approach to resolve things. Conflicts may be reduced, but if the resolution is not satisfying, so is the outcome. Because time is such a crucial consideration when using this approach, poor management of the issue may easily lead to dissatisfaction on the parts of both parties. Further, it may need an evaluation function of the partly satisfying compromise obtained, as it does not assist in creating confidence in the long term.

Non-Western Approaches to Conflict Resolution

In certain regions of Asia and Africa, non-western techniques of conflict settlement are practised. In Rwanda, the Gacaca is headed by elders, often wise older men who lead group talks that culminate in an acceptable agreement to all members. The bushingantahe, or Council of Notables, has a crucial role in resolving local conflicts and reconciling individuals or families in Burundi. Parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan use the Jirga system, an assembly of elders that makes consensus decisions on issues involving individuals and communities.

In India, the mediative method has been the primary means of resolving community disputes. The Panchayat system, in which a respected village elder(s) participates in settling communal conflicts, has long been recognised as a reliable form of conflict settlement. The old panchayat system included involvement by third parties unrelated to the disagreement to overcome the disputants' antagonistic nature. The goal was to re-establish contact between them, and the disputing parties were convinced to communicate with one another; the mediator was only a conduit. In contrast to the Western method, the mediator, in this case, is a known and respected third party trusted by the disputants to help them resolve their issues. However, mediations can sometimes devolve into adjudication, with judgements imposed on the disputants.


While the goal of any disagreement should be a settlement, disagreement itself may be valuable. When individuals look at a situation from many angles, they often discover novel insights and approaches that help them find better solutions. The goal of effectively resolving conflicts is to prevent differences from increasing so that each side may continue to present their case and the group can achieve a consensus. One may improve one's capability to learn from people and share what one knows with them and dispute settlement abilities by practicing these techniques.

Updated on: 13-Mar-2023

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