- Gina Bonham
Conflict Resolution Project
Conflict is a characteristic of human existence. It is part of the dynamic of life that drives us into the future. But it needs to be managed constructively. When associated with violence, destruction and killing, it is no longer a healthy part of life.
Violent conflict solves few problems, creates many, and breeds more unhealthy conflict to come. 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.
Sarah and Desidra have lived together harmoniously for a year. One day, Desidra brings home a new puppy, and Sarah is upset because she does not want to deal with the care of or mess from this new animal. Sarah decides to approach Desidra about the problem.
Desidra has brought this puppy home and Sarah doesn’t want to have anything to do with the care of or having to clean up the mess that the puppy will bring. Sarah has decided to approach Desidra about the problem in hopes to work this out. What will happen is yet to be determined.
Sarah and Desidra have lived together harmoniously for a year. The stage of their relationship is one that can be classified as being in the intensifying stage. Desidra will test Sarah to the potential of their relationship with various degrees of self-disclosure to see if that will be reciprocated and to test the impressions that she may make.
Relationships grow and self-disclosure becomes more apparent and deep. There are no set guidelines for every relationship in the intensifying stage. Every relationship possesses unique characteristics that maybe difficult to actually predict if efforts further the relationship will succeed or fail.
Sarah and Desidra are dealing with complementary conflict styles. They each have opposite point of views. The symmetrical conflict style is where the two individuals mirror each other’s behavior. Sarah does not want to have anything to do with the new puppy. Desidra wants the new puppy and seems to think that Sarah will be okay with it.
Sarah seems to have the more dominant power over Desidra. She is not happy with Desidra bringing home a new puppy and she decides to approach Desidra about the problem. Desidra thinks that everything will be okay between the two of them and that Sarah will love the puppy and want to help take care of it.
The conflict that may arise between Sarah and Desidra we can use the Filley Model for conflict resolution. First we can look at the antecedent conditions, perceived and/ or felt conflict, manifest behavior, conflict resolution or suppression, and resolution aftermath.
The big picture would be for Sarah doesn’t want anything to do with a new puppy. Desidra will have all responsibility to do whatever needs to be done to keep the dog. Desidra will be accounted for if anything goes wrong in regards to the dog. The conflict would not be substantive. This would mean that it would be so much more than just the essential conflict with no resolution in sight.
The Pillow method is a situation that has four sides to it like a pillow. The first position states I’m right and you’re wrong. Position two states your right I’m wrong. Position three states that both right both wrong. The fourth position states that this issue isn’t as important as it seems.
Yes, Sarah and Desidra could use the Pillow Method to adjust the perception of the conflict.
For Sarah and Desidra to come to some kind of agreement will be to create a win-win situation. First Sarah and Desidra will need to identify the problem. Have a discussion to understand both sides of the problem. The goal at this initial stage is to identify what you want and listen to what the other person wants. Define the things that you both agree on, as well as the ideas that have caused the disagreement. It is important to listen actively to what the other is saying.
Come up this several possible solutions. His is the brainstorming phase. Drawing on the points that you both agree on and your shared goals generate a list of as many ideas as you can for solving the problem. Evaluate these alternative solutions. Now go through the alternative solutions to the problem, one by one.
Consider the pros and cons of the remaining solutions until the list is narrowed down to one or two of the best ways of handling the problem. It is important for each person to be honest in this phase. The solutions might not be ideal for either person and may involve compromise.
Decide on the best solution. Select the solution that seems mutually acceptable, even if it is not perfect for either party. As long as it seems fair and there is a mutual commitment to work with the decision, the conflict has a chance for resolution.
Implement the solution. It is important to agree on the details of what each person must do, who is responsible for implementing various parts of the agreement, and what to do in case the agreement starts to break down. Continue to evaluate the solution.
Conflict resolutions should be seen as works in progress. Make it a point to ask the other person from time to time how things are going. Something unexpected might have come up or some aspect of the problem may have been overlooked. Your decisions should be seen as open to revision, as long as the revisions are agreed upon mutually.
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Between Sarah and Desidra the parts of the plan of action that may seem difficult would be to decide the best solution and to implement it between the two of them. Sarah’s decision would be not to have the puppy at all were as on the other hand Desidra’s decision would be to what seems fair and the decision is mutual.
The consequences for a win-lose outcome would be that Sarah values her point more than their friendship. Sarah would have the power because it would be to defeat Desidra to get what she wants. This would be to Sarah’s advantage because it’s her way or no way.
The consequences for a lose-win outcome would be that Sarah values their friendship more than this point. This is known as accommodating which occurs when you allow others to have their way rather than asserting your own point of view. Sarah could end up having high concerns for Desidra about the new puppy which results in a lose-win situation.
The consequences for lose-lose outcome would be that Sarah could just avoid the whole problem. Avoiding occurs when people nonassertively ignore or stay away from conflict. Sarah has an attitude about Desidra bringing home a new puppy and believes that there is no good way to resolve the issue at hand.
The consequences of compromise outcome would be that Sarah thinks that this is not important enough to fight about and she doesn’t want to be unreasonable. If Sarah lets Desidra bring home a new puppy then maybe she’ll give me something else. We could both live with that. Compromising is sometimes touted as an effective way to handle conflicts.
On a personal note, the call schedule that we have at the facility where I work. Each month we have to sign up to be on call if needed in the OR. Some days you think that your schedule is fine and then a wrench gets thrown in. Other changes have to be made which may cause a conflict with others.
Fellow co-workers have already gotten there schedule and know when their day is accounted for. But there may come times that you may have to help pull someone’s call just to help out. At times it’s not that easy but you give in because you care about that patient and to do what is right.
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