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What Causes Conflict? Is Peace Possible or Desirable

WhatCauses Conflict? Is Peace Possible or Desirable

Muchhas been written about conflict and peace all over the world. Therehave been different perceptions surrounding the topic of conflict andthe desirability of peacein the international arena. Theconflicthas been theoretically classified to have its characteristicstogether with behaviors and structure. Understanding conflict and itscauses makeit easier to manage it as well as prevent it from escalating. Theconflict theory has the suggestion that in a social context, thebehaviors of people tend to result from completing factors. Thetheories of social conflict have been clear on the causes of conflictand at the same time indicating on the ways of solving them.Apparently,when there is no conflict people live in existence of peace.Each and every individual has thedesire to live in a peaceful environment with zero conflictoccurrence,and it is not clear whether one can exist without the other. Theimpact, nature and the cause of conflict havebeendocumentedby different scholars’ onthe school of thoughts placingemphasis onthe theoretical approaches involved. It is imperative to indicate thesituations and circumstances that result inconflict and at the same time indicating the desire to solveconflicts which can beseenas the desire for peace. The paper focuses on different kindsof literaturethat have covered conflict and peace

Theconflicthas been experienced all over the world. What causes conflict is seento bring the desire for peace. Conflict itself has to be considered acharacteristic of human experience. The dynamic of battlesis what takes the personto the future due to the competing interests involved. The desire forpeace is born afterward. Theconflicthas to be handled in a beneficial manner to ensure a lasting peace.Violent conflicts that result to confrontation are not healthy andmay leadtounwanted consequences thus it will be imperative to ensure they areprevented.Conflict may exist at the government level, state level, personallevel, class level, and atthe international arena.Conflict is seen to becausedby pursuance of opposing goalsand objectives. Onthe world stage,conflict can result ininter-country wars which can be dangerous and comes at the expense oflosing few civilians. While peace has been an evolving topic all overthe world, international bodies have been set to handle conflictresolution in areas that are heavy laden n disputes.For human beings to develop and advance into the future, peace is aprerequisite requirement.

Manytheories establishviews on the topic of conflict and peace. The realist theory depictsa situation where the human nature is selfish which puts him inpursuance of personal goals and interests that amount to power thuscoming into conflict with others. The fundamentaltheory introduces incompatibility as the cause of conflict due to thecompetitionforresources in a social context. The biological theory of conflictestablishes its innate nature during social interactions of humanbeings. The theory stipulates that peoplewill always fight naturallysince they cherish different things. The physiological theorysupports the biological theory of conflict in identifying that peoplehave the naturalcapability to conflict and are not able of displaying that throughinstinct. Theconflictthen arises from combined factors that are out of control on theindividual level. The economic theory of conflict indicates that thecause of conflict is the resources and greed. The systemic approachtends to explain the causes of social conflicts and agrees with thehuman needs theory of conflict. Theoretically, the causes of conflictare well established in each level and depict competinginterests or opposing goals among parties involved.

DiPaola,Roloff,and Peters (2010) examine how the prospectof the intensityof conflict can forecast behaviors and likelyresults in conflict cases. Whenwe anticipate that a conflict will be strong,the prospect itself will encourage negative behaviors which produceadverseresults.The study encompassed of 208 undergraduate learners of the Universityof Private Midwestern U.S. The students filled questionnaires thatincluded both open-ended and closed questions. The researchers foundtheir hypothesis to be supported, noting that when an individualanticipates that a conflict will be intense, he typically reportsfeeling emotionally upset and personally attacked and suffersinterference of daily activities.It is compoundedwhen the individual is the one who initiates the confrontation. Manyfactors are affectingwhen peoplechoose to engage or avoid conflict. This study could support thenotion that if we are not careful, we could create patternedresponses towards certain individualsbased upon our expectation of how intense a conflict with that personmight be. In the workplace, an employee might expect a typicallyill-tempered boss to fly off the handle over an honest mistake,causing avoidant behavior that would most likely only adjoin to theconflict. It could be wise to fit in techniques or measures into aconflictmanaging plan which takesour expectations into account and help us work through thoseexpectations to come up with constructive solutions instead ofavoidant behaviors. Wilmot &amp Hocker (2011) point out thatefficient management that requires being aware when to be assertiveand unswerving and as well knowing when to defer in anticipation ofthe right time. One way to accomplish this in the work environment isthrough mediation. It could be beneficial to have an individualassigned to mediate in-house disputes to help prevent an escalationin high-conflict situations. The article puts peace to be desirableby people in the workplace,and it needs further details on whatcauses conflict.

Avivi,Laurenceau,and Carver (2009) establishes a cause of conflict regarding theconnection between apparent goal-sharing and advancement towardsgoals in addition to the perceived affiliation quality in committedromantic couples. This study was conducted using 245 undergraduatestudents who completed questionnaires on their desired along withundesired goals furthermore how they can rate their cohorts in goalmutuality. The study set out to analyze the connections amidperceived purposeallotment and the quality of relationship overall. The researchers’aim here is to construct uponaschoolof thought that suggest that having a commonobjective in a relationship results inmany benefits. The study demonstrated that marital conflicts over andover again stem from “defensive individual goals” and that theuse of “we” lingo in relationships gives a reflection tointerpersonal closeness. Thestudy also demonstrated that couples are more industrious while theypursue mutual goals since they are functioning together.In short, there are solid benefits to having a common sense ofbearing. It is vital to note that this research focuses on thediscernment of reciprocated goals as well as the perception ofadvancement in response to those aims.When a person perceives his spouse to be sharing mutual goals andmore so understandthat they are progressing towards those commongoals, the relationship becomes stronger overall,and couples are better-off and more contented. While this studyfocuses on romantically committedcouples specifically, it does show that a sharing of goals and havingthe perception of progress towards shared goals helps therelationship. Itsupportsthe notion that teams in a work environment would do better to worktogether towards commongoals.

Schroth,Bain-Chekal and Caldwell (2005) analyzehow the use of emotional trigger words affects the negotiationprocess. The studies conducted by Schroth et al. al. expands uponprior research showing that a party’s emotional state can influencethe other party’s behavior indispute,particularly if the emotional state is negative. The first studyutilized 308 undergraduate students from two westcoastuniversities. The students were asked to complete a shortquestionnaire wherein they described a conflict they had which becameemotional. They were then requestedto explain what led to the emotional response. During this firststudy, the researchers identified specific words used in negotiationthat evoke emotional responses. In their second study, theresearchers obtained data from 221 undergraduate students, again fromtwo westcoastuniversities. In this study, the participants reviewed a case studyinvolving a conflict situation between two fictional people, “Pat”and “Chris.” The conflictscenario the participants considereddealt with a dispute regarding a rent-sharing agreement. One-halfof the participants examineda case which described the pair as roommates,and the other half of the participants revieweda case wherein Pat and Chris weredescribedas business partners. The purpose of this was to see if there was anydifference in perception of the use of emotional trigger words in apersonal conflict versus a business conflict. The researchers alsoused two separate transcripts of dialogue between the fictionalcharacters of Pat and Chris, one including emotional trigger wordsand the other excluding those same trigger words. The genders of Patand Chris were also not identified, tokeep it neutral for the participants. The results of the studiesshowed that the use of trigger words caused two things: (1) observerswere more likely to believe that the negotiation would be satisfied,and (2) observers were more likely to perceive the party using thetrigger words as unfair. Some gender differences were also noted. Forexample, when trigger words were present in the negotiation, womenwere more likely to be optimistic about a resolution than if thosewords were not present. Interestingly, the studies showed thatoverall, emotions weremost often triggeredby the use of rude words and threats and when parties weretoldwhat to do, especially by someone of the same gender. The emotionsmost often felt were anger and frustration. The Schroth, et al. al.studies are useful in putting together a conflict management plan inthat if we can determine which words are more likely to triggeremotions in a conflict situation, we can take steps to avoid the useof such words in our language. It is also important to understandwhich words trigger our emotions so that we may learn how to regulatethem during the conflict process

Maiese(2006) explores the use of art, ritual and joking as a means forfacilitating emotional reassessment during a conflict situation.Maiesepoints out that much of the negotiation and mediation trainingutilized to date has emphasized the importance of conflict analysisand skills training and has steered students away from emotion. Shefurther notes that there is a growing body of research which suggeststhat mediators should not ignore the emotional process, but ratherwork with emotions tohelp the parties’ reason and make decisions. Maieseindicates that through the use of ritual, art,and joking, people cantransform how they feel about a conflict situationbecause these methods use indirect or symbolic activities rather thanother methods which force an individual toexpress how he feels directly,which can be awkward and uncomfortable. Rituals include informalactivities such as eating or dancing. The author suggests thatthroughthe use of ritualsparties canshift their emotions, allowing them to redefine the conflict. Ithappensbecause through the ritual activity (eating, dancing and othercustoms), we candevelop new understandings of our relationships with others. That,in turn,allows us to feel and think differently about the conflict with thatperson. The author also believes that art is a powerful means tobring about constructive change. She provides an example of twocountries at war who vowed not to engage in further warsafter a neighboring country invited the two presidents to attend ameeting where they experienced a beautiful artistic performanceinvolving poetry, song,and dance. The performance was sodominantthat the leaderssigned a peace treaty that has not beenviolatedto date. Finally, Maiese discusses joking as a form which encompassesboth art and ritual. Through joking, she points out that parties canalter their emotional attitudes, “open themselves up to agreement”and begin to reassess their situation. She does caution that thesemethods, while helpful if used correctly,do have the potential to play a destructive role. Ritual, art,andjokingcan break down barriers that may hinder the negotiation process theymay help people see things differently, thereby helping them movetowards resolution. However, they may also heighten emotions to thepoint that parties are unable to think clearly and could even becomefrozen, overwhelmed by emotions. While this article does notnecessarily offer information that could beincorporatedinto a conflict management policy in the workplace, it does point tosome alternative ways of handling conflict. Rituals in the workplace,such as staff luncheons, company retreats or firm picnics could be aneffective way of bringing people together in a more relaxed settingwhere they could get to know each other at a more personal level. Byseeing each other in a different light, workers may be better able toresolve conflicts among themselves when they arise.

Notall of the articles reviewed here provide information that could bedirectly translatedinto an effective conflict management policy. However, each of thearticles provides insight into effective ways of handling conflict,including the emotions involved and the trigger words that set thosefeelingsoff. The reportsalso offer insight into the effects of goal-sharing andperceptionin relationships, the consequencesof silent conflict and conflict style differences across cultures.All of this information is important in some way towards thedevelopment of a thorough conflict management plan


Avivi,Y., Laurenceau, J., &amp Carver, C. (2009). Linkingrelationship quality to perceived mutuality of relationship goals andperceived goal progress.Journal of Social &amp Clinical Psychology, 28(2), 137-164.

Cai,D. A., &amp Fink, E. L. (2002). Conflict style differences betweenindividualists and collectivists. Communication Monographs, 69(1),67.

DiPaola,B., Roloff, M., &amp Peters, K. (2010). College students`expectations of conflict intensity: A self- fulfilling theprophecy.CommunicationQuarterly,58(1), 59-76.

Kielpikowski,M., &amp Pryor, J. (2008). Silent parental conflict: Parents`perspective. Journal of Family Studies, 14(2/3), 217-227.

Longaretti,L. &amp Wilson, J. (2006). The impact of perceptions ofconflict management. Educational Research Quarterly, 29(4), 3-15.

Maiese,M. (2006). Engagingthe emotions in conflict intervention.ConflictResolution Quarterly, 24(2), 187- 195.

Schroth,H., Bain-Chekal, J., &amp Caldwell, D. (2005). Sticks and stones maybreak bones,and words can hurt me: Words and phrases that trigger emotions innegotiations and their effects. International Journal of ConflictManagement,16(2), 102-127.

Simon,V. (2010). Interparental conflict and adolescents` romanticrelationship conflict. Journal of Research on Adolescence,Blackwell Publishing Limited, 20(1), 188-209.

Wilmot,W. &amp Hocker, J. (2011) Interpersonal Conflict, 8th ed. New York:McGraw-Hill