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CONFLICT

MANAGEMENT

G.T Ng, PhD


LEAD CONFERENCE 2003
SOUTHERN ASIA-PASIFIC DIVISION

Makassar Jan 24-27, 2003


WHAT IS IT?

Encarta
A disagreement or clash between ideas,
principles or people

Merriam Webster
Competitive or opposing action of Incompatibles
TRUE OR FALSE

1. Lack of conflict is a sign of a healthy group

2. A conflict exists whenever incompatible activities exist

3. Conflicts are usually destructive to a group

4. Conflicts that are not openly expressed and constructively


resolved will be expressed indirectly and persist

5. Conflicts can and should be avoided whenever possible

6. It is not possible to teach people how to deal with conflicts


effectively
TRUE OR FALSE
7. Conflicts are valuable and even necessary to a group

8. Conflicts are destructive to relationships

9. Conflicts promote higher levels of cognitive and moral reasoning

10. Conflicts help you understand what you are like as a person

11. Ignoring conflicts usually causes them to dissipate and to go away

12. A conflict uses up energy and thus decreases a groups ability to


work effectively
CONFLICTS ARE INEVITABLE

Complexity of human nature

Complexity of human relationship

Complexity of organizational structures

Complexity of modern life


SOURCES OF CONFLICTS

Conflicting Perceptions
Individuals disagree because they perceive events
differently

Differing ideas
Individuals have ideas that clash (e.g. women ordination)

Conflicting Values
Individuals embrace different set of values that influence
their perceptions and judgment (e.g. competency,
spirituality)
Aggressive Behavior
Individuals assert their rights while knowingly or
unknowingly deny others theirs

Personality Clashes
Personality traits of people create friction

Communication Problems
Semantic, noise, lack of clarification
Structural Problems
Line authority, specialization

Human Factors
Personality, self-esteem, budgets, we-they dichotomy
Two Responses to Conflict:
Fight or Flight

How willing are you to deal with a conflict when it


occurs? Some people are ready to fight, others
are ready to flee.
Fight or Flight?

Go to the group which represents the most


typical response for you.
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of
the two responses
(5-10 minutes)
Switch to the group that least represents your
most typical response for you.
Describe how you feel in the opposite camp.
NEGATIVE OUTCOME

People feel more distant


Some people leaving
Destruct and suspicion
Cooperation diminishes
Passive and active resistance to each other
Blaming, generalizing, distorted communication
Reduced job satisfaction
Personal hurt
Loss of motivation
Can Anything Good Come Out of
Conflict?

The answer is yes, if we managed it instead of


allowing it to manage us
POSITIVE TREND
The earlier business approaches considered
conflict harmful and dysfunctional in
achieving organizational objective and is
to be avoided.

Conflict has now come to be seen as


pervasive in human relationships and
perhaps even necessary in organization.
POSITIVE TREND
Whereas literature once emphasized conflict
resolution, literature now emphasized
conflict management.

Whereas leaders once avoided conflict at all


costs, now leaders are taught to welcome
for innovation and clarification of
organizational goals.
POSITIVE FUNCTIONS
Conflicts allow important issues to be aired

Conflicts produce new and creative ideas

Conflicts release built-up tensions

Conflicts can strengthen relationships

Conflicts can cause groups and organizations to reevaluate


and clarify their goals and mission

Conflicts can result in social change to eliminate inequities


and injustice.
Positive Benefits of Conflicts
1. IDENTITY

o Every conflict situation carries with it the


underlying theological question, What does it
mean to be the people of God in this
situation? Conflict in the early church over the
question of whether Gentiles had to be
circumcised to become Christians forced
Jerusalem council to choose a universal
understanding of the Christian faith (Acts 15).
2. EMPOWERMENT

o The absence of conflict within a group is often


the indication of the presence of powerless
groups. They are like the couple who has a
perfectly peaceful marriage because the wife
always does whatever her husband wishes. Her
needs are never met!

o Conflict can be the means for silent and


uninvolved groups to become a part of the
church by active participation in the decisions of
the organization.
3. GROUP SOLIDARITY

o Groups which are threatened by conflict develop


a solidarity with each other and become loyal to
their cause. It leads to internal cohesion and
unity.

o Group solidarity will be especially strong if the


conflict is external to the organization and
threatens its existence.
4. PRESEVERANCE

o A group learns how to persevere when it


believes it is worth a struggle. This is especially
true of minorities who feel strongly about their
cause and face resistance.
5. DIFFUCION OF GREATER CONFLICT

o Conflict serves as an outlet for the release of


hostilities.

o Organizations, like a pressure cooker, must have


release valves or the lid will get blown off.
Church conflict is the release valve for more
intense and more potentially destructive conflict.
6. Greater diversity of viewpoints is heard

7. Innovation and creativity are encouraged

8. Persons are forced to state their positions and views


more clearly

9. Motivation and energy are increased

10. More commitment to improving relationships

11. Conflict creates new groups

12. Greater sense of genuineness in relationships.


BARRIERS TO CONFLICT MANAGEMENT

1. Fear of disruption

2. Group norms

3. Tradition

4. Fear of vulnerability (mine/yours)

5. Fear of worsening the situation

6. Formal structure of organization


The Role of Values in Conflict
Resolution

(Handout)
CONFLICT IN THE CHRUCH ?
NO WAY!
Only the innocent and nave would assume
that as Christians working in the church,
they would never get into a conflictive
setting Regardless of how hard you try
to avoid it, conflict will be your companion
in church work.

John Savage, Getting In and Out of Conflict, Your Church


(March/April 1984), 42
Ellen White and Conflict
The writings of Ellen White suggest she
recognized the reality of conflict and that
she had frequent experiences with conflict.

She refers to conflict as being in the past,


present, and future. She writes of the
closing conflict, the last conflict, daily
conflict with difficulty.
Ellen Whites Counsels on the subject vary.

There are times when Jesus avoided conflict.


To avoid useless conflict with the leaders at
Jerusalem He (Christ) had restricted his labors
to Galilee. (DA, 450)

If there has been conflict and strife among


Christians, there is need for reconciliation to take
place as soon as possible. (COL, 144)
Conflict as a Function of Caring

Conflict always presupposes a relationship.


Conflict cab occur only in the interaction
between the subject and object.

When people care about one another and what


the other does, then there can be conflict.

Whenever there is a conflict, there is a close


relationship. Such close relationship should be
the basis for reconciliation.
The Closer the Relationship, the Greater the
Tendency to Suppress Hostile Feelings

In secondary relationships of colleagues, for


example, antagonistic feelings can be expressed
with relative freedom.

In primary relationships where people are


closely knit together, the expression of such
feelings is regarded as a danger to such intimate
relationships, and hence there is a tendency to
suppress rather than to express hostile feelings.
The Closer the Group, the More
Intense Is the Conflict
Relationships in closely knit group are intimate.
Members of the group have frequent interactions with
each other. Their relationships generally involve their
total personalities.

It is a known fact the people who have many common


features often inflict worse injury than complete
strangers do. We confront strangers objectively. We hold
our personalities in reserve. But the more we have in
common with one another, the more our total beings are
involved. The more intense would be the conflict.
Removal of Personal Motives
Leads to More Intense Conflict
Conflicts in which the participants feel that they
are merely the representatives of collectivities
and groups, fighting not for self but only for the
ideals of the groups they represent, are likely to
be more radical and merciless than those that
are fought for personal reasons. Elimination of
the personal element tends to make conflict
shaper in the absence of modifying elements
which personal factors would normally
introduce.
EARLY SIGNS OF CONFLICT
Continued fierce expressions
Inability or unwillingness to agree on purpose or goals
Unbridled jealousy
Unwillingness to communicate
Repeated expression of negative feelings
Different role perceptions
Sudden drop in attendance
Increased phone calls
Frequent resignations from positions of leadership
Voting patterns indicating the rise of opposition to the
leadership
Withholding of tithes and offerings
CONFLICT CREATES

Dealing with conflict can be very stressful


The longer a situation goes unresolved, the
more stressful it can be
Unmanaged stress can reduce our ability to
remain calm and objective
Learning to deal with stress is an important
aspect of resolving conflict
Divided into groups
Take a piece of paper
Recall a conflict situation
Think about the stressful feelings
Write down one word that describes the
strongest feeling that caused stress
Exchange your paper with members in your
group. Write on it a stress reduction idea for the
feeling written
Feelings Associated with Stress
Anger

Disappointment

Blame

Sadness

Guilt

Feeling of being overwhelmed


Overcoming Stress
Keep a journal
Play music
Rest
Take a walk
Talk to friends
Go for a drive
Eat right
Exercise
Accept what you can change
Accept what you cannot change
Pray
Trust in God
CONFLICT RESOLUTION

4 SUGGESTIONS

1. Avoidance
2. Competition
3. Adaptation
4. cooperation
AVOIDANCE
Some people do whatever they can to stay
away from conflicts. They believe its
easier to withdraw than to face conflict.
They believe it is hopeless to try to resolve
conflict, and easier to step back from a
conflict situation. The avoidance style
leads to a lose-lose approach.

I LOSE, YOU LOSE!


AVOIDANCE

I LOSE, YOU LOSE!


COMPETITION
Some competitive people believe that winning is
everything and try to overpower their opponents
by forcing their solution on them. Their goals are
highly important to them, but the relationship is
not. They do not feel that the needs of others are
important, and seek to achieve their goals at all
costs. This style is considered a win-lose
approach.

I WIN, YOU LOSE!


COMPETITION

I WIN, YOU LOSE!


ADAPTATION
People feel that the relationships are more
important than their own goals. They want
to the liked and accepted, and harmony is
the most important thing, and thy are
willing to give up their goals in order to
save relationships. These people are
choosing a lose-win approach.

I LOSE, YOU WIN!


ADAPTATION
The assumption is that most things are
negotiable. Most things are not worth
fighting about. Rather, maintaining
relationship is everything.

People who give in can easily be taken


advantage of since they have difficulty
saying no. they also forfeit personal goals
and values.

I LOSE, YOU WIN!


ADAPTATION

I LOSE, YOU WIN!


COOPERATION
People highly value their own goals and
relationships. They consider conflicts as
problems to be solved, and seek solutions
where both partied achieve their goals.
These disputants are not satisfied until an
acceptable solution is found for both
parties, they will go to great lengths to
find solution acceptable to both parties.
They have chosen a win-win approach.

I WIN, YOU WIN!


COOPERATION

I WIN, YOU WIN!


SUMMARY
1. AVOIDANCE (I LOSE, YOU LOSEE)

2. COMPETITION (I WIN, YOU LOSE)

3. ADAPTATION ( I LOSE, YOU WIN)

4. COOPERATION ( I WIN, YOU WIN)


THE WIN-LOSE STRATEGY
The assumption of the strategy is that
everything should be classified as right
or wrong. No gray area is allowed.

There are only two ways of doing


things: the right way or my way?

Such people have little tolerance for


ambiguity.
Win-lose people use different tactics to
convince others to mend their ways:

1. PHYSICAL FORCE make other person


comply

2. THREATS threaten loss of reward, loss


of relationship, or punishment

3. INTIMIDATION try to frighten the other


person into agreement
4. SILENCE refuse to speak until the
other person gives in

5. VERBIAGE AND VOLUME out talk or


out-shout the other person

6. POINT OUT PAST FAILURE say,


Because you were wrong in another
situation, you cant be right now.
7. PULL RANK I am your boss.

8. REWARD promise something of value if


they give in

9. SPIRITUAL LEGITIMACY say, While I


was praying and reading the Bible, God gave
me this conviction. It implied that God is on
their side.
AVOIDANCE - WHEN TO USE IT?
When a situation is the developmental stages
and needs time to mature
When you are convinced that active
confrontation can produce nothing but negative
results
When the power dynamics of the situation are
such that you cant imagine a positive outcome
When it is more appropriate for others to
manage a conflict situation
COMPETITION WHEN TO USE IT?

When speed and decisiveness are at a premium


When you are in conflict with parties who will
not cooperate
When organizational functionality is at stake
and unpopular decision needs to be made
When your investment is high
When you know you are correct
ADAPTATION WHEN TO USE IT?

When building relationships is more


important that the particular
organizational conflict
When your investment in the conflict is
not high
When the power dynamics are against
you and you want to minimize your
losses
COOPERATION WHEN TO USE IT?
When you value the other partys viewpoint
and relationship
When your investment in the situation is
high
When you desire the participation of all
parties and you have a strong commitment
to the management solution
When you have a high investment in
creativity and maximum use of peoples
resources in managing a conflict situation
WHAT WOULD IT BE?
1. AVOIDENCE (I LOSE, YOU LOSE)

2. COMPETITION (I WIN, YOU LOSE)

3. ADAPTATION (I LOSE, YOU WIN)

4. COOPERATION (I WIN, YOU WIN)


Four Conflict Resolution Styles
When to use Each

(Handout)
Evaluating Your Conflict
Resolution Skills

(Handout)
Biblical Conflict

(Handout)
Case Studies

(Handout)
CAREFRONTING

Carefronting means directly approaching the


other person in a caring way so that achieving
a win-win solution is most likely.
With this approach neither party losses
anything important and the relationship does
not suffer.
Some believe this is the only biblical way of
resolving conflict (Matt 18:15-17)
CONDITIONS OF CAREFRONTING

Both parties must be:

Committed to face to face negotiation.


Committed to maintaining good relationships.
Committed to crating a solution in which both parties
are winners.
Committed to calm reasoning without resorting to
emotional responses.
Committed to separating the person from the issue.
LOVE AND FORGIVENESS?
As Christians we have not applied the Scriptures
to our own institutional or individual lives. Jesus
commandment to love one another has been
nullified by division, litigation, and hostility. At
times a veritable civil war has been fought out in
the Christian community. One is reminded of the
story of Stonewall Jacksons observation of
fighting among his own men. He reportedly told
them, Remember, gentlemen, the enemy is over
there.
Lynn and Juanita Buzzard, Resolving Our Differences.