What is Conflict – Understanding Conflict

 There are different ways to come with a definition of conflict. When speaking of conflict, what would immediately come into mind would most likely be how differences and disagreements make such an occurrence to spring up. Having that, let us have that question again, for the purpose of a more comprehensive discussion. Hence, what is conflict? It can be described as a disagreement among groups or individuals characterized by antagonism and hostility. This is usually fueled by the opposition of one party to another, in an attempt to reach an objective different from that of the other party. The elements involved in the conflict have varied sets of principles and values, thus allowing such a conflict to arise.

Taking a look into what causes conflict can help us understand this phenomenon even more. Hence, let us take into consideration the common sources of conflict. In this manner, we can address other aspects of the question (“what is conflict?”) posed.What are the factors that make conflict arise? For the purpose of this discussion, let us put into attention the three main sources of conflict as proposed by American psychologist Daniel Katz. According to him, conflict arises primarily due to these three:

Economic conflict is brought about by a limited amount of resources. The groups or individuals involved then comes into conflict to attain the most of these resources, thus bringing forth hostile behaviors among those involved.

Value conflict is concerned with the varied preferences and ideologies that people have as their principles. Conflicts driven by this factor are demonstrated in wars wherein separate parties have sets of beliefs that they assert (in an aggressive manner at that).

Power conflict occurs when the parties involved intends to maximize what influence it has in the social setting. Such a situation can happen among individuals, groups or even nations. In other types of conflict, power is also evident as it involves an asserting of influence to another.

Conflict comes naturally; the clashing of thoughts and ideas is a part of the human experience. It is true that it can be destructive if left uncontrolled. However, it shouldn’t be seen as something that can only cause negative things to transpire. It is a way to come up with more meaningful realizations that can certainly be helpful to the individuals involved. These positive outcomes can be reached through an effective implementation of conflict resolution. Conflict can be seen as an opportunity for learning and understanding our differences. We can all live harmoniously despite conflicts as long as we know how to responsibly manage these struggles.

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