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Advantages and Disadvantages of Conflict

Advantages and Disadvantages of Conflict

Author: Marlene Johnson
Description:

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand that people may perceive conflict to be to their advantage or disadvantage

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Tutorial

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Does conflict ever have advantages? And how do you weigh those advantages against the disadvantages? I'm Marlene, and that's a question I'd like to explore with you today in this session, where we'll look at the advantages and disadvantages of conflict.

Let's start with the disadvantages. I think disadvantages are probably what come to mind first when we think about conflict. Disadvantage is a perception that continuing a conflict impedes a party's goals or needs.

For example, you may be considering litigation. But the costs are so high that you think it's going to really impede your needs. It's going to get in the way. You can't afford the costs, and these may not just being monetary costs, but it could be the time and energy that you'll have to put into the lawsuit. So you may decide actually making a legal case out of this is more of a disadvantage than advantage. I don't want to do that. I'm not going to take that road.

You might decide that a particular conflict is a disadvantage based on the way it drains time and energy in other ways. Let's say you've been involved in a relationship. You've been dating someone for some time. And there always seems to be a little bit of conflict erupting in this relationship. You care for the person, you enjoyed their company, but it just feels like hard work. And after weighing the pros and cons you decide I don't think putting up with the conflicts here is worth it. The conflict is too much of a disadvantage. It's draining my personal energy and time. I think I'll end the relationship.

So that's another example of when conflict might feel too much of a disadvantage for you to continue. You might also be involved in a conflict, another personal conflict, perhaps this is within a family. Let's say John is having a conflict with his brother-in-law, Steve, over some work that Steve said he would do and never completed it. So now it's brought some tension into the relationship. And these two men don't spend time together very much because of this conflict. However, the families have always enjoy being together. There's going to be a family gathering coming up, a reunion, and John begins to think maybe I should just let this go. It's not that big a deal and it could really damage family relationships. I noticed that our kids are feeling a little uncomfortable whenever we bring them over there, because they're aware of the tension. It's just not worth. This conflict is too much of a disadvantage, in that it's damaging relationships in the family.

So those are some examples of how conflict can be perceived really as a disadvantage. So let's move on and look at conflict as an advantage. What are the advantages of being in conflict?

So now we have advantages of conflict and that would be perceiving conflict in a totally different way. It's a perception that continuing a conflict in and of itself fulfills a party's goals or needs. Actually fulfills a party's goals or needs. Now I think one instance where this is so true is in any sort of conflict that involves a moral position or belief.

For example there could be crusade for human rights. Actually being in that conflict could feel advantageous, because the conflict itself is now raising this issue to the forefront. You have news stations covering it. People are talking about it. It's getting noticed. So that's an example where the conflict itself can be seen as an advantage.

I think we also see this in politics. You have to look no farther than Congress, where you have two parties, and if you have one party that is in power they may not want to compromise on an issue. They may want to keep a conflict going, because they feel that it is to their advantage in the legislation. And it particularly, if they're in the majority, they may feel that they don't have to really compromise. They don't really have to listen to the other side and give them the leverage that they might, because they might lose things that they don't want to lose in the process. So that's another example of how conflict could be seen as advantageous.

Now if a party or an individual is really seeing conflict as to their advantage, it could be even a disincentive to resolve a conflict. So a boycott for example, let's return to an issue that is a crusade for a moral principle. Something you really believe in. And perhaps you're taking part in a boycott, a protest movement. And you really don't want to settle this issue right now, because you feel the boycott itself is giving you power and giving energy. And it's attracting more people maybe even into the movement. Building a movement to support you in this initiative that you have undertaken is one of the most important things here. And you don't want to give up that leverage. Resolving the conflict too soon may lose your way here. You may lose the leverage of already have.

So in conclusion, I think conflict can be perceived as either advantageous to a party or disadvantageous to a party. And if perceived as an advantage, that perception itself could result in a party really not wanting to resolve the conflict quickly.

So thank you for being part of the tutorial. I'm Marlene, and I look forward to seeing you next time.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Advantage

    A perception that continuing a conflict in and of itself fulfills a party's goals or needs.

  • Disadvantage

    A perception that continuing a conflict impedes a party's goals or needs.