What is conflictology

This is an interdisciplinary field that studies how disputes arise, flow, and are resolved between people. Conflictology is engaged a variety of types of conflicts – from intrapersonal to military and labor. Their participants can be not only individuals, but also entire organizations and states.

Conflictology is impossible count science in the usual sense of the word. This is primarily an applied industry, the same as, for example, management.

As a field of research, conflictology finally took shape in the second half of the 20th century. The experience of the Second World War had an effect: experts were looking for ways to prevent similar disasters in the future. That is why conflictologists are mainly engaged in specific methods and practically do not develop a theory.

So a unified scheme for describing all types of disagreements within the framework of the direction has not yet been created. And the conflictologists themselves rely on the methods and data of other disciplines, primarily psychology and sociology, and also apply mathematical models, such as game theory.

How to solve problems with conflict resolution

Here’s what the experts recommend.

Determine the type of conflict

Different conditions create different types of contentious situations. Usually allocate the following groups of conflicts:

  1. Antagonistic, which cannot be resolved peacefully, and those that allow for compromise.
  2. Natural, which arose by itself, and artificial, created by someone specifically for the realization of certain goals.
  3. Explicit (open) and latent (hidden).
  4. Real, potential and imaginary.
  5. Functional (creative) and dysfunctional (destructive).
  6. Institutionalized and non-institutionalized – that is, regulated or not regulated by laws, norms and values.

Problems are solved differently depending on their type. For example, when a neighbor makes noise at night, you need to understand whether you are ready for a compromise. If so, you can go and try to negotiate with the person. If not, then you should complain to the police.

Weigh the risks and opportunities

Behavior in the face of contradictions to varying degrees answers personal or common interests. Some people are very non-confrontational and quickly make concessions, because for them the main thing is the common good. Others, on the contrary, will never give up their goals.

Therefore, before entering into a conflict, think about what you can expect from the opposite side. After all, this largely depends result. Let’s say you decide to talk to a noisy neighbor. Here’s how the discussion could end:

  • One-sided win. The neighbor is a non-conflict person and immediately stops making noise.
  • One-sided loss. The neighbor does not care that he does not let you sleep, and he does not turn down the volume.
  • Mutual win. The neighbor agrees that it is impossible to make noise at night, so he turns down the music at this time so that the sound does not reach you.
  • Mutual loss. The neighbor lowers the volume as a concession, but you still hear the songs.

Having considered the options, it will be possible to determine your goals during the negotiations and understand under what conditions these tasks are realizable. In the case of a noisy neighbor, for example, it makes sense to go to an agreement only in situations where a unilateral or mutual gain is possible.

Choose the optimal strategy

Based on two trajectories of interests (own and common) in 1974, American psychologists Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann developed five types of behavior of people in conflict situations.

  1. Avoidance – laugh it off, refuse to communicate with the opposite side, or not acknowledge the existence of a problem at all. This option is suitable in cases where the issue is not very important and can be neglected, or you need additional time to decide what to do. It is also correct not to get involved in an argument if it is risky. For example, it is better not to swear with an aggressive brawler who is ready to start a fight. And while avoiding conflict can cease itself, ignoring can exacerbate contradictions.
  2. concession – accept the opinion of the opposite side. It is worth resorting to tactics if you made a mistake and are ready to admit it, or the consequences are not critical for you. You can also give in when the conflict is capable of destroying your relationship with the opposite side, and you do not want this. But you need to know the measure, because kindness can be taken advantage of.
  3. Competition – to defend one’s position firmly and uncompromisingly. The strategy should be applied when you are absolutely sure that you are right and can prove it with the help of facts. However, remember that it is better not to lose your head and not move from arguments to insults, intimidation or brute force.
  4. Reconciliation – to make mutual concessions, to come to a compromise. Useful in situations where both parties are not ready to fully comply with each other’s conditions, but are interested in ending the conflict. However, such a result does not always satisfy the needs of the participants, because of which the dispute may flare up again.
  5. Cooperation – to join forces and, taking into account the interests of both parties, find a solution to the situation. It is considered the optimal strategy. However, it requires that the disputants be willing to cooperate. Therefore, it is best to resort to this method in case of disagreements with partners, relatives or friends. Cooperation requires a lot of time, activity on both sides, and trust. So in practice this option is not always feasible.

Use Negotiation

Whatever strategy you choose to resolve the conflict, it is best applied through negotiations. They are considered one of the most effective forms of conflict resolution. Experts suggest using them in different situations – from discussing business issues to family disagreements. That’s how recommend act:

  1. Get ready – collect information, analyze the causes of the conflict, its possible consequences, solutions.
  2. Start negotiations – exchange information, express your positions, assess the situation, offer ideas.
  3. Find an acceptable solution – Discuss the possibilities, come to a consensus.
  4. Finish the negotiations – Specify the details of the decision. Namely, the terms, obligations and forms of control over compliance with the agreement.

You can also attract to the negotiations a third party – the negotiator (mediator). This will make the discussion process more organized and pacify the ardor of the conflicting parties.