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4.0 Module 301 : Conflict Management  and Peace Building

4.2.5 Conflict Management Styles

4.2.5 Conflict Management Styles

Conflicts may be managed by the conflicting parties themselves or by third parties. Organizational conflicts can be met with non-attention, suppression or resolution.

  1. Lose-Lose Strategies:
  1.  In lose-lose strategy both parties in the conflict lose in the sense that neither achieves its true desires in the conflict. Conflict is managed in such a way that its underlying reasons remain unaffected. Consequently future conflict of a similar nature is likely to occur. There are three basic approaches to conflict management in the lose-lose strategy;
  2. Avoidance: Managing conflict by avoidance is an extreme form of non-attention. In this approach there is no direct attempt to deal with a manifest conflict. Everyone pretends that conflict does not really exist or if it does exist, it is such that it will simply disappear. Consequently, in this strategy, the conflict is left to develop on its own into a constructive or destructive force within the organization.
  3. Smoothing: This is managing conflict by playing down differences among the conflicting parties and high-lighting similarities and areas of agreement. The aim is to encourage peaceful co-existence through recognition of common interests. Smoothing may ignore the real essence of a given conflict. It is a form of a non-attention of a minor form.
  4. Compromise: In this approach accommodations are made such that each party in the conflict gives up something of value to each other. As a result neither party gains its full desires and the reasons for conflict remain unsolved.
  1. Win-Lose Strategy

In win-lose strategy, one party in the conflict wins while the other loses. One party wins by achieving its desires at the expense of the other party's desires. The root causes of conflict are not addressed. Instead, there is a tendency to suppress desires of at least one of the parties. Therefore future conflicts of a similar nature are likely to occur.

i. Competition: In this approach, a victory is achieved on the part of the winning party. ii. Authoritative Command: Here a formal authority simply dictates a solution and specifies what is gained and lost and by whom e.g. government intervenes in strikes and gives workers time to conform. When the authority is a party to the conflict, it is easy to predict who will be the winner and who is the loser.

C Win-Win Strategy

Win-win strategy provides the best solution to conflict. It is a strategy that truly resolves conflict. It involves the recognition by all conflicting parties that something is wrong and needs attention. Both parties in the conflict win as both achieve their goals

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