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Conflict Resolution: Concepts and Practice (The Technical Manager's Survival Guides)

Marcus Goncalves
Marcus Goncalves
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ASME Press
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A conflict has characteristics of its own, and it is possible to analyze its structure and behavior. When conflict is understood, it's easier to find ways to predict it, prevent it, transform it, and resolve it.

The way professional organizations are organized can influence both the root causes of conflict and the conditions in which these conflicts are likely to occur. Any professional organization which is organized so that some people are treated unequally and unjustly (i.e., by professional ranking, different fringe benefits and working schedules, cultural factors, and so on) is likely to erupt into conflict, especially if its leaders do not represent all the members of that organization. If an unequal and unjust society is reformed, then conflicts will be less frequent. In such situations, professional conflict mediation, and even arbitration, might be required.

As discussed thus far, any human being has basic needs, and each of us would like to be recognized as an individual and a professional with a personal identity. We all want to feel safe also. When these basic needs are not met, we protest, and protesting can create conflicts and lead to rebellion and violence. Many of us find our identity and security in our cultural groups and the particular points of view of such groups — for example, Brazilian groups are a lot different than American and German groups! So, clashes between professionals of different cultural background are quite common and can lead to conflicts that can easily turn violent. If people learn to understand that differing cultures are not inevitably a threat to each other, they will also learn how to manage their differences co-operatively and peacefully.

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