Chapter 8: Managing Interpersonal Conflict
Interpersonal conflict is the disagreement between two or more connected individuals who perceive their goal as incompatible. Conflict occurs when people are interdependent, are mutually aware that their goals are incompatible or perceive each other as interfering with the attainment of their own goals.
Content and relationship conflict
Content conflict focuses on objects or events when relationship arguments center on the nature of the relationship.
Principles of conflict
Conflict can center on content or relationship issues, can be positive or negative, can be influenced by culture and gender and can have consequences.
-negative aspects of conflict
Conflict often leads to negative regard for the opponent. One reason for this is that many conflicts involve unfair fighting methods and are focused on hurting the other person. It may lead to you closing yourself off to the other person. May lead to further conflict.
The value of conflict is that it allows you to examine the problem and work towards a potential solution. If you and your opponent both use productive conflict strategies the relationship may well emerge from the encounter, stronger more confident and better able to stand up for yourself.
Conflict is influenced by culture
Culture influences both what people will have conflict about and how they will deal with it. The people you get into conflict with and the topics on which there is conflict vary greatly from culture to culture.
Conflicts most often involve violations of larger group norms and values such as failing in your role as family provider.
Conflicts are most likely going to occur when people violate expected norms.
Conflict is influenced by gender
There are many differences when it comes to men and women for conflict. Men are more apt to withdraw from a conflict situation. Men want to avoid the conflict while woman want to get closer to it. They want to talk about it and resolve it.
Conflict styles have consequences:
I win, You lose: This style involves great concern for your own needs and desires and little for those of others. As long as your needs are met your happy. This philosophy leads to resentment on the part of the person who loses.
I lose, you lose: people who avoid conflict are usually not concerned with their or their opponents desires. They avoid any real communication about the problem.
I lose, you win: You sacrifice your own needs for that of the other individual. Your primary goal is to maintain harmony and peace in the relationship. Although this method may work short term, in the long run you’ll sense unfairness and may resent your partner.
I win, you win: You address both your own needs and those of the other person. This style is considered ideal. It enables each persons needs to be met.
I win and lose, you win and lose: It’s the strategy you may refer to as meeting half way. Some concerns for your needs and some for the other persons.
Conflict management strategies
The strategies will be influenced by certain factors, the goals to be achieved, emotional state, cognitive assessment of the situation, personality and communication competence and family history.
Avoidance and fighting actively
May involve the actual physical flight from the situation. May also take the form of emotional or intellectual avoidance, in which you would leave the argument psychologically by not dealing with any of the arguments or problems raised.
Special type of avoidance in which you refuse to discuss the conflict or listen to the other persons argument. May take the form of hammering your point away till the other person gives up.
Force & Talk