Peacebuilding Manual/Conflict Response Styles

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Peacebuilding Manual

Conflict Response Styles

1. Controlling. People who adopt this style in conflict try to force others to accept their views. They tend to ignore the needs or feelings of others. This forceful and aggressive approach is used when conflict and problems are seen as contests to be won or lost, so they want to “win at all costs.” People who use this style have a high concern for personal goals and low concern for relationships It can escalate conflict when the victim feels hurt and resentful only to hit back at a later date. This technique is also used by parents on their children to protect them from danger.

2. Collaborating or Problem solving. Known as the win-win approach where problems are solved by mutual respect and consent. People who use this style confront openly and fairly. They see conflict as a chance for better understanding. Although this is a time consuming process, it is the most effective way to get fair and lasting solutions with significant gains for both parties. People identify the wishes of both sides and are not satisfied until both parties in conflict can work towards a mutually beneficial solution. They have a high concern for both their goals and their relationships with others. People show respect for each other and for their differences. They work together to look for ways to resolve the conflict and restore relationships.

3. Accommodating. This style is used when there is high concern for relationships. Disagreements are ignored or smoothened over, points of view are not expressed and peace at any cost is the message. They are quick to accommodate others and ignore their own needs because they believe addressing their own needs might destroy the relationship. Such people prefer others to control and do not contribute to problem solving.

4. Avoiding. People who adopt this style in conflicts withdraw from the situation because they believe it is hopeless. People use this approach by withdrawing either physically or emotionally from a conflict. They stay away from situations that could lead to conflict This is because they deliberately do not want to get involved or leave the scene in order to punish others. Avoiding can either leave problems unchecked or bear pressure on others to act, both of which has its costs.

5.Compromising.'' This is a common way of dealing with conflict, where each side gains equal satisfaction. Compromisers push for some goals but try not to jeopardize relationships; they try to let others get some of their goals satisfied. The solution however is short term and could leave parties feeling dissatisfied with a sense of losing, as it closes off the option/desire for a better deal.

There are three possible outcomes to using these styles: (i) Lose – Lose: This is when both sides in the conflict do not get their needs satisfied. Most often the conflict continues or resurfaces; (ii) Win–Lose: This is when one side in the conflict has their needs satisfied or met at the expense of the other side; (iii) Win–Win: This is when both sides in the conflict work together with an aim to satisfying their respective needs.