Friday, August 2, 2019

Moderating Conflict

According to Barrosse (2007, p.210) there are three main ways to deal with conflict: â€Å"Try to change the other party, try to alter the conflict conditions, [or changing] your own communication and/or perceptions.† Each of these methods is employed by the average person when faced with conflict; however they are not all equally successful when it comes to actually moderating a difference of opinion.   When it comes to taking control of uncomfortable situations, one is certainly better off avoiding the first method. Trying to change the person you are dealing with so that they see your point of view is â€Å"a natural response [and is] usually highly unsuccessful† (Barrosse, 2007, p.210). We are all inclined to be stubborn about our own situation, and even though a compromise would generally calm the other party and afford peace, we as humans are quite unwilling to let our side of the story slip past unnoticed. The fact is, unless we get over this natural tendency to advocate our own viewpoint, there is no such thing as effective conflict moderation. When people are forced to see the other side of the argument through authoritative measures, â€Å"a subterranean resentment and desire to retaliate may well emerge† (ibid). â€Å"It is no accident that Aristotle wrote about the ‘Golden Mean’ and Buddha preached about the ‘Middle Way’† (Barrosse, 2007, p.214). These great philosophers understood that without compromise, there is no moving forward; without finding a middle ground between differing parties we will all remain isolated and controlled by our own dogged opinions. When we employ the second method of conflict moderation – trying to change the conditions of the disagreement – we are attempting neither to find a middle ground nor to ‘win’ the dispute. Changing the situation is merely a way of trying to disengage from the conflict, and quickly. This can work on a superficial level, in that the situation is handled speedily, but it may backfire and leave the other party resenting you for changing the rules. This type of behaviour can be classified as avoidance, according to Barrosse, and â€Å"when you engage the other [party] in productive conversation, you will find that (1) your behaviour is being misinterpreted by the other and (2) your perception of the other is skewed† (2007, p.216). Changing the circumstances surrounding a conflict is really not a proactive form of moderation, since by engaging in clear conversation you can take control of the dispute and work towards a solution. The final resolution method – changing your own communication or perceptions – is truly the most successful tactic you can use. The fact is that â€Å"conflict parties may know that they want to engage but not know how to start† (Barrosse, 2007, p.217). Taking charge in these situations requires understanding and patience, which may be difficult for many people, but it is nevertheless necessary for successful conflict resolution. Many people struggle with restraint: this â€Å"includes the difficult task of holding back one’s desire to act on vengeful feelings† (Barrosse, 2007, p.221). In practise there is no successful way to incorporate such feelings into conflict moderation. It is important to remain focused on the issue at hand and lay out clear objectives for all parties involved. This way, no one is distracted or perhaps made more upset at the introduction of new conflict topics and extraneous information.   Remain calm, concentrate and listen to the opinions of all parties while trying to find a common solution. â€Å"Low productivity occurs when interpersonal conflicts are not identified or openly expressed to the other party† (Barrosse, 2007, p.214). Therefore it is best practise to approach conflict moderation from the perspective that teamwork prevails.   Finding a compromise is the most sound solution. Reference: Barrosse, E. (Ed). (2007). Interpersonal Conflict. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies.    Moderating Conflict The current personal conflict that I am experiencing right now is regarding my parents and having a part-time job. I decided to have a part-time job so that I could somehow support myself while I’m studying, something which could give me a spare money during my free time. For me, I can manage to work and study at the same time because I’m a dedicated person when it comes to academic matters. When it comes to my examinations, I devote enough time to study so that I would get good marks. When it comes to projects and requirements, I make sure that I pass it before the deadline so that there won’t be any problems with my teachers. But the real problem is not with me, but with my parents. They are afraid that I might spend so much time with my part-time job and less time with my studies. They fear that as I go along with this part-time job, I would slowly loose interest with academic matters. They think that it could hinder me from pursuing my education, especially if I would start earning money. Both my mother and my father disagree, arguing that I would be better off if I just concentrated on my studies. I know they’re just concerned with my well-being, since they know how dedicated I am with my studies. The problem however, is that they don’t understand my reasons why I wanted the part-time job. I have many reasons why I wanted the part-time job. One would be the financial support that I could get from it. I wouldn’t have to rely to my parents for extra money when it comes to my personal expenses. It could also introduce me to an independent lifestyle, which I know would really come one way or another. Having this part-time job is not solely for the money, but also a good way to learn. It could be a very important experience for me, especially when it comes to my attitude towards work and my studies. Surely, it is important to prioritize my studies. However, it is also important to be introduced to the real world, wherein I’ll be able to learn how it is like to be handled by superiors, and develop a certain work attitude. The best way to moderate this conflict between me and my parents is through dialogue (Hamel, Doz, & Prahalad, 1989). The key for them to accept my decision regarding the part-time job is for them to understand my reasons. It is best if I would be able to explain to them my point. This could be done by looking for the right situation to talk to them, and it would be best if I could talk to them separately, so that they’ll understand without bothering about the opinion of the other. During the dialogue, I should be able to clearly explain why it is ok for me to have this part-time job (Pfeffer, 1999). The approach that I think would best be accepted by them is how important it is to my future. An experience such as this would greatly help me to have a grasp of what lies ahead after my studies. This is the point which I think would connect my parents and the part-time job. Both my parents are concerned about my future that’s why they are wary about the decisions I make and take. If they would be able to see how this part-time job could positively affect me and my future, then I am sure that they would approve of it. The key is for them to fully understand it (Pfeffer, 1999). Moderating conflict is a case-to-case basis. The resolution of the conflict is dependent on the situation being faced (Wilmot & Hocker, 2001). In this conflict which I have with my parents, the best approach is to have a dialogue with them and explain to the possible outcomes of the decisions I take. Through this, I would be able to show them that having a part-time job could help me build a future instead of clouding it. References: Hamel, G., Doz, Y. L., & Prahalad, C. K. (1989). Collaborate with your competitors – and win Harvard Business Review, Vol. 67(No.1). Pfeffer, J. S. (1999). The smart-talk trap. Harvard Business Review, Vol. 77(No.3,). Wilmot, W. W., & Hocker, J. L. (2001). Interpersonal Conflict (6th ed.). New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill.      

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