Conflict often starts from within us internally then it becomes external and its growth more complex when we do not manage it immediately and appropriately. We should always first concentrate on internal resolution of conflict then external management; we should therefore change our PERCEPTION, ATITUDES and BEHAVIOUR, first before we seek to change others.
Most times we choose reactive methods for solving problems (force, arbitration, adjudication, and negotiation) but they only provide short term solutions. The most effective method for conflict resolution is to use proactive methods (mediation, resolution and transformation) because they are outward looking and address the root causes of conflict.
Many times we say we want peace but we rarely act to work towards peace or we do not know how to achieve it. To attain peace we should practice active peace. Active peace is the process of understanding, co-operation, transforming and solving.
Conflict Management and Resolution Styles
1) Force: Force is a violent way of conflict management where the view of the other party is accepted by the other one by force (parents and children, teachers and students, boss and an employee etc.)
2) Adjudication: This is where the conflicting parties go to the third party to resolve their problem and abide by the decision of the third party due to his judicial or legal powers. He can force the two parties to comply with his decision (LCs, police, and court of law).
3) Arbitration: This is whereby the two conflicting parties choose the third party to solve their problems. They will abide by the decision of the third party because of his social status (religion leaders, community leaders, elders, etc)
4) Negotiation: This is where no third party is involved; the two parties in conflict tend to work out their differences by themselves. This depends on perceived power or status of the parties; these can work well if the parties have equal power and status.
5) Mediation: This is a method of conflict resolution where the two parties in conflict are assisted by the third party who is neutral to reach an agreement. The third party does not judge or censor on behalf of any of the two parties, he only helps them to reach a solution.
6) Resolution: This is when the two conflicting parties attempt to solve their problems; in such a way that new constructive relationships are built after the problem is resolved.
7) Transformation: This is the highest level of conflict resolution where the two parties involved in conflict choose to build a new and permanent relationship; the decision is taken from the bottom of their hearts and minds.