Conflict Resolution refers to efforts by individuals or teams to resolve disputes and negotiate settlements.
Conflict is inevitable. No matter how much we love and respect the people whom we live with or work with, we will inevitably disagree with them from time to time.
Key Concepts: Teamwork
Sometimes we are wise to avoid conflict it. Sometimes there isn’t time to deal with human drama. And sometimes it helps to give the people involved in a conflict time to cool off. Conflict resolution is an essential skill.
Yet ignoring conflict can be deeply problematic. Left unresolved, conflict can fester and grow like a cancer. Ego, power relations, gender, personality, and ideology can impede communications. People can have different levels of commitment to projects. And health issues can get in the way.
Being able to diffuse conflicts is an empowering life skill. In their review of literature on collaborative problem solving, Maria Elena Oliveri and her colleagues at ETS have identified conflict resolution as a core workplace competency:
“In the workforce, employers want employees who can anticipate obstacles to project completion, develop contingency plans to address the obstacles, and take corrective action when projects go off track. Desirable employees are those who can bring others together to reconcile differences, handle conflicts maturely through a mutual give-and-take approach, and actively promote mutual goals and interests” (Ennis qtd in Oliveri et. al).
At Writing Commons, we are eager to publish research and theory as well as pedagogical exercises that help students develop their conflict-resolution competencies. Please see Contribute to learn about how you can collaborate with us and help students along the way.