Conflict Management Conflict Management

Why the study of conflict is important

Key elements of conflict

The nature of conflict

Variables in the study of conflict

Skills for conflict managers

Self test

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Skills for Conflict Managers

Short course in conflict management: basic skills
Advanced abilities and tactics in conflict management
Advanced conflict assessment tools

"The skills required for conflict management are simple, but they rarely are acquired as part of growing up.  Learn them and use them" (Mayer, 1990, 58). The consensus in the professional literature is that if we are to become competent managers of interpersonal conflicts, skills in two arenas must be mastered:


        conceptual arena

        skill competence arena

Conceptual skills. The first arena is conceptual: an individual must understand conflict's causes, styles, strategies, tactics, and world-views. An individual must understand theories of how and why conflicts arise, where and when conflicts habitually occur, and the range of strategies and tactics that may be utilized to manage conflict.

Skill competence. The second arena is skill competence. In addition to understanding communication and conflict theory, an individual must become competent in a variety of basic communication skills and develop a working repertoire of conflict management skills. A lengthy [list of abilities and tactics] can be specified for advanced conflict management. However, two basic communication skills are required if parties hope to manage conflict productively:

  • listening
  • asking questions

Individuals new to conflict management should work first to enhance basic communication skills. Wilmot & Hocker suggest some basic skills for conflict managers. More advanced assessment tools follow these basic skills.


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