Conflict management entails engagement of strategies that limit the harmful results of
conflicts and increases positivity in a specific conflict (Baxter, 1982). Conflict management can be done at a point that is equal or higher that the setting of the disagreement. A conflict, in simple terms, refers to a situation, in which two groups discover their incompatibility. One group may notice that its interests have been strongly disapproved by the other group (Baxter, 1982).
Conflicts are said to occur in almost all aspects of life. It could be at the workplace, in the home environment and at school. These conflicts are common in intensely personal relationships. Strategies that are employed in dealing with such conflicts are the building blocks of conflict management. Many intellects have studied conflict management in various frameworks. These may include intimacy, education, romance and organizational among many other contexts (Jandt, 1973).
On the spheres of global integration, nations are now fighting each other with an aim of becoming independent in unusually many ways (Kriesberg, 1998). The globalization of world’s economy has led to the interdependence among many nations. This has led to the international negotiation that has resulted in war and interracial discrimination. Conflict then becomes more than just an argument or serene disagreement. Conflict management became a field of study in the 1950s and theories of conflict management came up in the 1970s. This led to the modernization of the study of conflict management (Baxter, 1982).
Causes of Conflicts
While many scholars say that a conflict is an aspect of structural phenomena, others say that a conflict originates from human behavior. Others continue to argue that a few individuals who hunt for authority and control cause conflicts. However, the cause of the conflict cannot be pointed at one factor or a single element. Many elements work together simultaneously in creating and propelling a conflict. The underlying factors that cause conflicts are normally available long before the conflict itself (Kriesberg, 1998).
In identifying the causes of conflicts, it is essential to make a distinction between the root causes and the activators (triggers) (Callister, 1995). The root causes are the main incompatibilities that exist between two parties, while the triggers refer to those aspects that lead to the escalation of the conflict. This differentiation is crucial in the comprehension of both the sources and the dynamics of conflicts. The coordination and management that leads to the resolution of these conflicts primarily depend on the relationship between the two elements (root causes and triggers). After the elimination of root causes, there is no likelihood of having triggers, because there will be no conflict at all (Callister, 1995).
In many studies that have been conducted, with an aim of determining the root causes of conflicts, four main categories of root causes have been highlighted (Callister, 1995). Structural factors have been categorized here and are coupled with inter-state safety concerns and ethnic geography. Political factors have been linked up with prejudiced political organizations and inter-group politics. Economic factors are another category that associates conflicts with financial problems, inequitable economic systems as well as modernization. The last category is the cultural dimension that embraces factors, such as cultural patterns of group unfairness as well as awkward group histories. These causes may occur internally or externally (Callister, 1995).
Ultimately, conflict management is a requirement in the management process, in which leaders are expected to device strategies that aim at bringing to a close very many conflicts that affect organizations and persons.