1WE4 's BLOG

Blogging on Conflict Management and Negotiation

Definition of Conflict

A conflict is a situation between two or more people in which one person perceives that another person has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affect, something that the first person cares about.  This definition of conflict contains three elements, all of which must be present in order for a conflict to exist.  First of all, there is a specific perception on part of one or more of the people involved in the conflict.  The perception may or may not be accurate, but it is held by the conflicting parties.  Secondly, the perception is generally negative.  One party believes the other party is going to do something that will have a negative impact in some direct or indirect way.  Finally, the issue surrounding the conflict must be something that both parties care about.  If one person does something that the other person doesn’t care about, then a conflict does not exist.

Based on this definition, not all disagreements are conflicts. conflictFor example, two people may disagree on how something should be done.  But a conflict doesn’t exist unless both people care significantly about the issue at hand, and believe that the other party will do something that has a negative impact on their interests.  If one of the people is willing to “give in” because the issue is just not that important to them, then the dispute is not a conflict.  Likewise, the parties may disagree, and the issue may be important to both people, but if neither person believes the other person will have any impact on their goals or interests, then the disagreement is not a conflict.

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October 2, 2009 - Posted by | Definition, Types of conflict | ,

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