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

Typology of Conflict

A typology approach attempts to classify conflicts into predictable groups or patterns.

Christopher Moore (1996), mediator and author, discusses the types of conflicts seen by mediators and offers a way to examine the basic causes of conflicts.  Moore claims that issues within conflicts are centered in one or more of five arenas.

        Data conflicts arise when information is lacking, differently interpreted or withheld.

        Interest conflicts occur when there are actual or perceived scarce resources such as physical assets (money or other tangible things), procedural issues (how decisions should be made) or psychological issues (who is in the wrong emotionally).

        Value conflicts erupt when people have different ways of life, deeply rooted goals or varying criteria on how to evaluate behaviors.

        Relationship conflicts prosper in environments of strong emotions, stereotypes, poor communication and historic negative patterns.

        Structural conflicts result from structural inequities in control, ownership, power, authority or geographic separation.

A typology of conflict is useful when the issues in a conflict are centralized in one of the five categories.  When issue focus occurs, different responses to conflicts are required.  For example, if a conflict is primarily a data conflict, sharing information and being sure that each party is interpreting the facts the same way is useful. However, if the conflict primarily is about values, sharing factual data alone will be of little or no use.

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