INTRODUCTION TO CONFLICT
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A man's greatest battles are the ones he fights within himself.
Ben Okri (1959 )
Antagonism is a form of struggle within a contradiction, but not the universal form.
Mao Zedong (1893 - 1976) Chinese statesman.
We should look in society not for consensus, but for in eliminable and acceptable conflicts, and for
rationally controlled hostilities, as the normal condition of mankind...Harmony and inner consensus come
with death. Stuart Hampshire (1914 - 2004) British philosopher.
We have met the enemy and it is us. Walt Kelly
Introduction to conflict
Conflict is everywhere. Every relationship has conflict. It exists inside us. It exists around us. It is natural
and inevitable part of all human social relationships. It occurs at all levels of society - intrapsychic,
interpersonal, intragroup, intergroup, intranational and international (Sandole & Staroste, 1987).
Conflict is ubiquitous at all levels of human social relationships. Some social scientists have given conflict a
bad reputation by linking it with psychopathology, social disorder and war (Burton, 1990). Conflict is not
deviant or sick behavior. Social scientists need to analyze the level and the type of the conflict in order to
understand the phenomenon.
Conflict is largely a perceived phenomenon. It is our perception of the situation that determines if a
conflict exists. Conflict may be either healthy or unhealthy. Moreover, it should not be taken as the opposite
of order. Though, there is orderliness in conflict yet it can be disorderly.
No two persons in the world are absolutely same or absolutely different. Therefore no two persons can feel
or think alike. The difference between thinking of different people causes conflict. The parties in conflict
believe they have incompatible goals, and their aim is to neutralize, gain advantage over, injure or destroy
Conflict is the root of personal and social change. Hence, the organizations have conflict because of its ever
changing environment. Conflict prevents stagnation. It stimulates interest and curiosity. Conflict
management is very popular in business schools. The role of the administrator or a manager in an
organization is to handle day to day conflict in the allocation of limited resources.
a. Conflict is a state of opposition, disagreement or incompatibility between two or more people or groups
b. A state of opposition between persons or ideas or interests.
c. A hostile encounter between two or more people.
d. Conflict is usually based upon a difference over goals, objectives, or expectations between individuals or
groups. Conflict also occurs when two or more people, or groups, compete over limited resources and/or
perceived, or actual, incompatible goals.
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