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CONFLICT RESOLUTION We define conflict as a disagreement through which the parties involved perceive a threat to their needs, interests or concerns. Within this simple definition there are severalimportant understandings that emerge: Disagreement - Generally, we are aware there is some level of difference in the positions of the two (or more) parties involved in the conflict. But the truedisagreement versus the perceived disagreement may be quite different from one another. In fact, conflict tends to be accompanied by significant levels of misunderstanding that exaggerate the perceiveddisagreement considerably. If we can understand the true areas of disagreement, this is going to help us solve the right problems and manage the true needs of the parties. Parties involved - There areoften disparities in our sense of who is involved in the conflict. Sometimes, people are surprised to learn they are a party to the conflict, while other times we are shocked to learn we are not includedin the disagreement. On many occasions, people who are considered as part of the social system (for example, work team, family, company) are influenced to participate in the dispute, whether theywould personally define the situation in that way or not. In the above example, people very readily "take sides" based upon current perceptions of the issues, past issues and relationships, roles withinthe organization, and other factors. The parties involved can become an elusive concept to define. Perceived threat - People respond to the perceived threat, rather than the true threat facing them.Thus, while perception doesn't become reality per se, people's behaviors, feelings and ongoing responses become modified by that evolving sense of the threat they confront. If we can work to understandthe true threat (issues) and develop strategies (solutions) that manage it (agreement), we are acting constructively to manage the conflict. Needs, interests or concerns - There is a tendency to...
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