Managing conflict? Why “managing” conflict? Why not “resolving” conflict? Or “resolving disputes”?

“Conflict is inevitable in a setting where people have different points of view and freedom of expression is encouraged. The effects of conflict can be either disruptive and destructive or creative and constructive, depending upon whether the persons involved can work toward mutual understanding or simply an agreement to differ without disrespect. Inability to cope with conflict constructively and creatively leads to increased hostility, antagonism, and divisiveness; clear thinking disintegrates, and prejudice and dogmatism come to prevail…”

[Blake, Mouton & Williams]

Conflict is not bad – it is how we deal with conflict that determines whether its outcome will be constructive or destructive.  In education, where constructive conflict is necessary for intellectual debate, new ideas and creative solutions – conflict at an appropriate level should be welcomed. Conflict must be managed – to encourage and maximize the benefits of constructive conflict and to prevent or intervene in destructive conflict. However, where conflicts develop into disputes between parties (as will sometimes occur) – mechanisms for the resolution of these disputes must be available.

“Conflict after all, is like rainfall. Properly controlled, it can be a boon; too much at once and in the wrong place can cause a destructive flood. The challenge is to build a flood control system. The challenge with the rising flood of disputes is to create a dispute resolution system or a conflict management system.”

[William L. Ury]

Managing Conflict in Education provides assistance to the education sector in managing conflict and resolving disputes on their campuses.

To learn more about what Managing Conflict in Education can offer you, please visit our Services.