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Addressing the Benefits of Unresolved Conflict

Addressing the Benefits of Unresolved Conflict

Author: marlene johnson

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will be able to identify benefits parties may perceive in unresolved conflict

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Video Transcription

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Why is this conflict still going on? It's an easy question to ask, particularly when a conflict is long term. I'm Marlene, and today I'd like to take up that question with you. The question of unresolved conflict and the benefits of unresolved conflict. Now that might seem like an odd thing to talk about. That a conflict-- a continuation of a conflict-- could have a benefit.

But actually, a benefit of conflict could be the perception of one party or perhaps both parties that their interest or their need is going to be best met by continuing the conflict. Now during the process of a conflict analysis, when a conflict intervener is sitting down with the party to talk about the issues, the causes, the needs, the fears, the goals, the intervener can uncover these issue sometimes, and it can uncover that the need might actually be something that the party is proceeding is best met by continuing the conflict.

This could happen for any number of reasons. One could be moral ethical. The party may be involved in this conflict because they see their cause as moral or ethical. It could be an environmental cause. It could be human rights cause.

And so by continuing the conflict, one of the things they're hoping to achieve is more public awareness. They want attention from the press. They want to enlarge the scope of the magnitude of this issue in the eye of the public.

So by settling too soon they might lose that. So if the intervener uncovers this during the analysis when they're analyzing the conflict, then it becomes a legitimate interest that must be met in resolution. So now there's a difference here between the position of continuing the conflict. Continuing the conflict as a position, having this interest met of awareness, and the importance of the moral or ethical issue becomes an interest. It becomes an interest in the conflict resolution process.

So that's one example here. There are other examples. A party may be continuing this conflict because of group cohesion. Sense of identity. Perhaps they are in a minority, or an ethnic group that feels like they have been disempowered and not recognized within the government. So there is a strike or there's a conflict that continues for a long period of time because people are coming together, and there is now a sense of strength and unity.

And continuing the conflict is building that sense of identity. That cohesion. It's empowering the group of people. So to settle too soon. There may be a fear of loss here of not achieving what they would like to achieve in terms of recognition, and of power within the government.

So continuing the conflict is their position on meeting that need. Whereas now the intervener realizes what this need is, and it becomes one of the interests that must be met in the conflict resolution process.

Now the benefits of doing this analysis is that once you uncover a legitimate need here. For continuing the conflict-- why the position here for continuing the conflict is going on. Then it might actually be one of the reasons not to do conflict resolution at this point. Part of the process design might be to wait because this particular need-- this interest that's being met by continuing the conflict-- is something that the party's not willing to give up at this point. They don't want to engage in conflict resolution and that's a legitimate reason.

So timing then comes into play here, and you wait before designing a process. So once identified, this need does become an interest, and the position of continuing the conflict is something that has to be taken into consideration when you are designing the overall process. So thank you for joining me in this tutorial, and I look forward to next time.

Terms to Know
Benefit of Conflict

An individual or group's interest or need met by continuing the conflict.