Please reference ch. 13 (the conflict chapter) in your paper, length should be 2 to 3 pages double-spaced, and a hard-copy.
When you hear the word “conflict” it may elicit the idea of big, awful problems, but most people experience conflict in many small ways throughout their day. It’s a natural part of life, so if you can begin to view conflict not as bad, but as a challenge to overcome, you will see there are many opportunities for learning and personal growth pre- sented to you each day. It doesn’t take much to set people off with feelings of anger or even a fit of rage. It may be a person who cuts you off to take a parking space you were wait- ing for, or the person standing in line next to you at Starbucks who is having an obnoxiously loud conversation. Or it could be the person in front of you at the movie theater who is constantly texting on his phone, oblivious to the irritation of everyone around him. We have all experienced moments of anger as the result of inconsiderate behavior from others, even for the smallest of things. One morning when Mr. Laermer was reading a book while seated in the “quiet” car of a Manhattan commuter train, he couldn’t concentrate over the constant click, click, click of the man texting next to him so he kindly asked the man to turn off the clicking sound so they could both be happy. The man responded by jumping out of his seat shouting, “Is this what it’s now come to? People want you to type more gently?” After going off in an angry tirade for several minutes he said, “Who do you think you are? Do you really think you can tell me what to do?” The man replied with “Yes, that’s exactly right. Please turn the clicks off.” People nearby began clapping, and the angry man sat down, red faced and turned his phone off.Researchers at Duke University call these small injustices “unwritten laws of social behavior rules.” The lead author of a new study on this topic is Mark Leary, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke. Dr. Leary says these seemingly trivial behaviors make us feel personally violated because people are not “playing by the rules,” causing one or both people to feel they are treated unfairly or in a rude, selfish, or inconsiderate manner. 1 Conflict does not need to escalate into a stressful situation if you know how to deal with it. Managing conflict is a learned skill, and this chapter offers specific guidelines for effectively resolving a wide range of conflicts. A NEW VIEW OF CONFLICT Much of our growth and social progress comes from the opportunities we have to discover creative solutions to conflicts that Conflict occurs when there is a clash between incompatible people, ideas, or interests. These conflicts are almost always perceived as negative experiences in our society. But when we view conflict as a negative experience, we may be hurting our chances of dealing with it effectively. In reality, conflicts are opportunities for personal growth if we develop and use positive, constructive conflict resolution skills. 2 Much of our growth and social progress comes from the opportunities we have to discover creative solutions to conflicts that surface in our lives. Dudley Weeks, professor of conflict reso- lution at American University, says conflict can provide additional ways of thinking about the source of conflict and open up possibil- ities for improving a relationship. 3 When people work together to resolve conflicts, their solutions are often far more creative than they would be if only one person addressed the problem. Creative conflict resolution can shake people out of their mental ruts and give them a new point of view. Meaningful Conflict Too much agreement is not always healthy in an organization. Employees who are anx- ious to be viewed as “team players” may not voice concerns even when they have doubts about a decision being made. Meaningful conflict can be the key to producing healthy, successful organizations because conflict is necessary for effective problem solving and for effective interpersonal relationships. 4 The problem is not with disagreements, but with how they are approached, discussed, and resolved. FINDING THE ROOT CAUSES OF CONFLICT Throughout this text, we have often compared the challenges of interpersonal relations to an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg is in plain view and readily available for consideration. However, most of the iceberg exists below the surface and can create problems if we choose to ignore it. Let’s assume that the owner of your company has initiated a new pol- icy on sexual harassment. This behavior has been carefully defined by the company law- yer, and the message seems very clear: Employees who are guilty of sexual harassment will be terminated. The Iceberg of Conflict, Figure 13.1, reveals a wide range of factors that will influence each employee’s perception of the new company policy. When you are in conflict, each level of the iceberg represents something that may influence the conflict resolution process. It is important that we go deep enough to understand the influence of our emotions, self-perceptions, needs, unresolved issues from Conflict Triggers A conflict trigger is a circumstance that increases the chances of intergroup or interper- sonal conflict. People encounter many different types of conflicts in any given day or week, so it is wise to learn to handle conflict in a fast, efficient manner. Later in this chap- ter, you will learn techniques for doing this.
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