Unit One Essay: Question one
Provide an overview of the nature of spirals that occur in ongoing conflicts. Next,
discuss how spiral can be altered. Be sure to use a specific example to make your point.
Conflict is a voiced struggle between one or more interdependent parties that perceive
incompatible scarce resources, goals, and use interference from others in achieving their goals
(Wilmot & Hocker, 2011). The parties in conflict aim at eliminating, injuring or neutralizing
their opponents. The nature of spirals of an ongoing conflict is characterized by threats,
deception, overt power manipulation and coercion. This occurs when both parties shift from
useful exchange to damaging intentions. The spiral of conflict has two zones, the covert and
overt zone. The covert zone is where the conflict has not emerged to public view while an overt
zone is where the conflict has become public and direct(Eunson, 2007). A conflict escalates to
spiral through a sequence of steps.
The first step is toleration where the outcome of a conflict is partially accepted by both
parties. It then leads to covert resistance and later overt resistance. The parties then experience
critical incidences that cause further polarization between the parties’ relationship and result in
selective perception where parties in conflict concentrate on the faults of their opponents. The
conflicting parties build a coalition of support from their friends and compile accusations that are
not in the original conflict against their opponent. The parties engage in threats that lead to
actions such as bringing in a third party, negotiation, arbitration, litigation, abuse, and invasion
of one’s personal space, vandalism and war games. The threats fuel retaliation actions between
the parties leading to violence that can be in the form of honorable or spiteful destruction of a
party’s own resources to prevent its opponents from getting hold of them(Wilmot & Hocker,
2011). Additionally, it can lead to catastrophic violence that results in a loss to both parties. An
example of a spiral conflict is one of a supervisor and workers that escalates to the extent of
workers resigning, be fired, indulging in endless fights and the organization experiencing losses
that results in its closure.
The spirals of an ongoing conflict can be distorted by engaging in direct communication
of displeasure. This occurs when a party expresses its disagreements directly to the other and
both parties agree to engage in an open discussion on the issues. Parties can negotiate in a low-
intensity manner, where the body and tone language are casual and present an open point of
view. This removes the feeling of discomfort between the parties and they are able to come up
with amicable solutions to their differences. A spiral conflict can be avoided by sharing of
accountabilities between the conflicting parties(Richardson, 2003). This occurs when both
parties acknowledge their mistakes and play a constructive role in the formulating of solutions to
the existing conflict. The parties can also end spirals of an ongoing conflict by choosing not to
retaliate negatively to their opponent’s negative actions that aim to fuel violence.
If the parties have explored all possible skills to end the conflict in vain, they can invite a
negotiator or a mediator. The mediator can guide the conflicting parties in engaging in an open
discussion and come into an agreement on how to best end the existing conflict. Conflicts when
properly handled fosters a good living and working relationship between individuals and nations.
CONFLICT MANAGEMENT 3
Unit Two Essay: Question one
Identify the advantages and disadvantages of competition
Conflict management styles are ways through which an existing conflict can be resolved.
The styles include; collaboration, accommodation, avoidance, compromisation, and competition.
Competition style is one that ignores the concerns and position of the opponents(Wilmot &
Hocker, 2011). The conflict is won by all means available such as rank in terms of authority and
position or political power. It is most appropriate when the aim is of quick action, there is no
hope of coming to a consensus with the conflicting party, the outcome is critical and the party is
sure it is the right decision. A party that uses this style makes sure the opponent accepts its
decision and acknowledges its power (Eilerman, 2006). The strategy is cultured by early
childhood upbringing, where to obtain wealth and social power one has to be aggressive,
demanding and assertive. However, some people result in using the competing style to deal with
their disagreement and power to intimidate others.
The competing style of conflict management has various advantages such as bringing to
an end of conflicts that concern the safety of individuals, It protects important interests of the
party that cannot be compromised. The style gives a party the freedom to make the right
decisions that are vital compared to preserving its relationship with the other party. The
competing style gives leaders the power to act when their position and authority are been
challenged. It helps in downsizing enforcing rules, cost-cutting, and administering discipline to
conflicting parties. It also demonstrates a solid leadership with the ability to implement and
uphold strategic changes that are in line with the goals of an organization. Inappropriate use of
the competitive style of conflict management can lead to negative repercussions. These negative
impacts include; Strained relationships that result in retaliation and resentment. It can hinder
consultations and discussion of alternatives to solve problems in the future since the other party
still hold a feeling of intimidation. It can lead to a misuse of power and resources by leaders in
service of their own centered interest. In employment, it can lead to unethical practices such as
the issuance of promotions to colleagues that are aligned with a leader’s interests instead of
merit, firing of conflicting parties instead of amicably resolving the existing conflict. It can
diminish commitment and support from the party. In a family setting, it can damage personal
relationships and cause divorce or separation between couples. Lastly, it can lead to a violation
of human rights and promote injustices in society.
It is important before picking a competitive style to end the conflict to consider various
options. These include a consideration of the pros and cons that may come along with the style.
An evaluation of all possible alternatives and consultations of the best cause of action to end the
conflict. The relationships that the competitive action will affect negatively when implemented.
It is clear that competing styles in conflict management have both positive and negative impacts.
The right use of competing style will yield positive outcomes and abuse will lead to problems
that escalate the conflict to destructive levels.