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Understanding What Conflict is and Resolving it Efficiently

Kundan Pandey Apr 21, 2019
We experience difference of opinion in almost all situations in our life. It is essential to understand what is it and how can it be eliminated to pave the path for negotiations. Keep reading to know more.
Right from ancient texts to modern management philosophies, conflict resolution stands to be the most revered skill that has been discussed everywhere. Given here, is the gist of 'The art of conflict resolution' - as it is hailed by social science scholars, psychologists, teachers, business tycoons, and relationship experts.


There is no fixed definition; to put it in simple words, it is a situation in which two or more parties differ in thoughts, actions, and deeds on some topic, idea and opinion.
To understand, consider the Gaza strip conflict. Decades have passed but the differences in opinions, and inability to resolve that dispute has resulted in immense loss of men, money and material. In essence, it is a disagreement on some or the total aspects of an idea, opinion or act. The parties involved try to resolve by agreeing on some common terms.
Conflict of interest is a disagreement between two or more parties depending on their interests involved in the outcome of a deal. For instance, two corporate firms are going through a merger & acquisition deal but both sides have their own 'interests' that are not negotiable for the other party.
In such cases, it leads to clash of interests. Here, to reach to any decision, there is a high risk that the interests of any one party has to be compromised.
Furthermore, internal conflict is a war within oneself or an entity or organization. There can be many situations of the same. You're working in a firm wherein the management proposes a policy but as employees you're unhappy with them.
Similarly, every example within an individual, country, group, organization that brings with it the risk of being right and losing something or being wrong and winning something, are typical examples of internal conflict. In external conflict, there is struggle against the external forces.
Think of any movie where a protagonist is fighting against the antagonists to win his/her love or is going against nature, crossing deadly seas and mountains to win her love. Any struggle against outside forces to meet one's needs is known as external conflict.


Relationship or interpersonal quarrels, for instance, occur due to presence of many negative emotions and feelings in a relationship. They can be with your friends, spouse, parents or children.
Data disputes are often due to the presence of wrong facts, misinterpreted information or several communication barriers. When the facts and figures in a discussion are distorted, there can be ambiguity in getting a clear understanding of the whole issue, thereby leading to a 'data conflict'.
There are instance of clashes of thoughts in literature too. Although that is an altogether different literary style, wherein, characters and plots are presented to display some struggle. Either the protagonist is against the values of society and world or he is fighting an inner war with himself, after having taken some wrong decision under pressure.
Even at your workplace, you'll observe that your sense of doing a job may be quite different than others. You may be a task-oriented person, wrapping up your work within a stipulated time while the other person may spend hours making his or her work more artistic.
Similarly, differences in leadership styles, personality clashes at workplace and differences in background and even gender are supposed to be issues that can create workplace frictions.

What is Conflict Theory?

It was popularized by Karl Marx, one of the greatest figures in sociology. This theory suggests that the fundamental process of designing of societal structure occurs when there is a class struggle between individuals for wealth and power. He was against monarchy or aristocratic rule as that can lead to "wage slavery".
Marx earnestly believed in the group struggle in society between rich, poor, peasant, worker and authorities that leads to a more dynamic equality and individuality in the society. He championed the cause of a more inclusive society, wherein, the interests of underprivileged is identified. It was in 1960s, that many such theories gained prominence.

What is Conflict Resolution?

It is a skill that can be developed gradually. Identifying your interests and working upon the most profitable solution is generally the most common strategy adopted by people.
Strong negotiation skills and the ability to put forward your opinions intelligently, goes a long way while resolving fights.
There is no end to explaining this subject, as it is a broad topic, covering many facets. The information presented before you was just to give you a glimpse of a conflict and its related aspects.