Paper Example on Conflict Resolution and Trust

Published: 2021-06-23 15:26:19
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University of California, Santa Barbara
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Research paper
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Conflicts have been in existence since the existence of man. In essence, we can say man and conflict have been existing together for quite a while. However, man is a tangible aspect while conflict refers to a more psychological connection which can manifest itself physically. In the modern world, conflicts arise in different forms and in different relationships. For a given type conflict to arise, there must be an already established relationship that exists between the two conflicting parties. Furthermore, a conflict can be between two parties or more. Nonetheless, what is more important to the individuals is reaching an amicable decision that ends the conflict. The process aimed towards achieving this result is called conflict resolution. To understand what entails conflict resolution, we first have to gain a conceptual understanding of the term conflict in its entirety. This research paper aim at providing different researched views on the issue of conflict resolution and the significance of trust as one of the aspects leading to resolving a dispute or disagreement.

The term conflict refers to a disagreement which might take any form. For two or more parties to disagree, they must both look for differing results in a given process or activity. For example, a student-teacher conflict may arise due to a given assignment. The student might want to complete the assignment for the purpose of completion while the teacher wants the student to complete the assignment using knowledge gained from the essential and background readings assigned for the specific task. The conflict of interest is, therefore, the process and end results of the assignments that might make each party feel dissatisfied if the results do not meet the intended purpose. The issue of conflict resolution now comes to find a solution that is rather peaceful to the disagreement that exists. Therefore, conflict resolution is a process which entails peace and trust in resolving a given dispute. Considering the solution will gain the approval of one or more parties.

The process of resolving a conflict, also known as conflict resolution, involved many aspects. One of the most significant aspects is that of trust between two or more conflicting parties. To understand the importance of trust in resolving a given conflict, one must first comprehend its significance in building the existing relationship before the conflict came about. Essentially, trust is defined as the explicit reliance on somebodys integrity, surety or ability to perform a certain action in the appropriate manner. The presence of trust is one of the cornerstones of strong relationships. The lack of trust is also one of the causes of conflicts in relationships. When one or more parties in a given relationship have not trust in another party carrying out a certain action to complete fulfillment. Then a conflict may arise. The lack of reliance on one party by another to complete a task dutifully is what creates disputes and disagreements in the world.

However, the issue of trust does not go in solace. IT goes hand in hand with the aspect of self-regulation. Trust does not happen overnight but builds over time. That is one of the reasons why most conflicts take the time to resolve. To build sufficient trust in both parties for one another, the aspect of self-regulation is paramount. One has to be self-regulatory in every action that has implications for another party. If an individual, undertakes tasks with this in mind, the end result would be the satisfaction of both parties thus building more trust for one another. Lack of self-regulation is what created the dissatisfaction which leads to conflicting situations as witnessed in most conflicts.

According to empirical studies, trust is considered to be a unique resource in conflict resolution. (Deutsch, M., Coleman, P. T., & Marcus, 2011) functionally define trust as the act of having positive expectations about another persons intentions, motives or actions towards us when there is the involvement of potential risks. From this empirical definition of trust, we learn that without the positive expectations, a given party may distrust the other leading to the lack of reliance towards goodwill of the other party. With this elaborate point in place, it is prudent to state that trust is a crucial entity of any conflict resolution exercise. More important is the issue of risk which necessitates the availability of trust in two or more conflicting parties. Through the work of empirical studies, it had been noted that lack of risk would correspond to a lack of trust. The availability of risk and the ability to tolerate risk is what builds trust. This majorly entails the issue of fear of loss versus the benefit of gain.

Fear of loss will translate to the dissatisfaction of one party which might break the trust. However, the benefit of gain will build more trust over a period of time resulting in a conflict-less relationship. The ability to perceive and assign motives and intentions to the actions of another individual or entity is critical in the determination of the level of trust in others. Moreover, this translates to the ability or rather how we assign blame to others. If one party has no problem assigning blame to the other party, a conflict resolution process may not be fruitful in the near future. Therefore, the evident relationship between trust and conflicts is complex such that the lack of trust translates into conflict whereas the availability of trust will remove any doubt thereby decreasing the probability of conflicts arising in the given relationship (Laursen & Collins, 1994).

To understand the significance of trust is the resolution of a given conflict. We have to consider different real life scenarios that often create conflicting situations around us. The most probable place to start is a school. A school is an environment that contains so much diversity in culture, social class, ethnicity, and race. As such, what brings people together in an educational institution is the ability and need to disseminate and gain knowledge respectively. The ability of the teacher to trust the student to gain the information he or she is giving out is paramount to the purpose of a school. Consequently, the ability of the student to trust the information being given by a teacher to be useful in real life scenarios and to be eventually benefiting is crucial to the learning environment. Therefore, anything that tends to make either party dissatisfied with the results of their actions or the actions of other will resolve a conflict in the school.

For instance, a conflict developed between two groups of teachers in a school will paralyze efforts geared towards disseminating information to the students. Take for instance a situation where a group of teachers feels dissatisfied with the current curriculum and school policies in place as they do not consider the current student population and its impending cultural perspective (Holt, & DeVore, 2005). For the purpose of this paper, let us refer to them as teachers while the other group as the management committee. Therefore, for the management committee to make the appropriate changes, they should consider the input of the teachers as they interact with the student population on a daily basis. Therefore, they have the internal perspective of what kind of policies and the appropriate curriculum to be implemented for the given student population.

On the other hand, looking from the view of the management committee considers the fact that reasons given by the teachers refer to them as being traditional in the way they manage the school. As far as the principle is concerned, he just wants the conflict to end so that learning can continue as usual. With this intricate perspective in mind, we can look at the different applicable approaches aimed at resolving the conflict. These approaches include the principle being a neutral entity that resolves the conflict levels by creating positive antecedent conditions that will ensure conflict levels are kept at a minimum low and are constructive. However, the approach that the principle is bound to use is one of empowering both parties, the teachers, and the management committee. This may involve the following dimensions.

One, the teachers need to feel that their input is appreciated and values in the specific areas they evidently have direct experience in. Second, teachers need to feel that what they do in class and around the school has a worthwhile cause and effect in the student population. Not only should this be worthwhile but also be done in a competent manner that speaks of their professional commitment to the cause and that they are recognized for their accomplishments. However, the management committee also has their own views on aspects that would lead to the resolution of the conflict. One of the dimensions they want to be considered includes the status of their authority and position. The management team feels that their status or rather the work they do is respected by the teachers, students and parents and the whole administration.

This is the most important aspect that creates the conflict from the perspective of the management committee. The principles that entail the methods of finding solutions to conflict situations in school is paramount to understanding the conflict resolution process (Lipsky, 2010). Reason being that a school is an exemplary example of a dynamic and diverse environment where the illustration of appropriate methods to resolving conflicts can be applicable.

After thorough investigation using first-hand sources of information, the following methods or procedural aspects were noticed with regard to resolving conflict in a school environment. There are mainly three aspects of making a conflict reach a constructive rather than destructive level for the purpose of continuing learning activities in a school. These aspects include communication, contact and most important trust (Behfar, 2008). The lack of these three entities in a conflict will result to a destructive level of the conflict after undergoing the process of conflict escalation. The culmination of low levels of the particular entities can be avoided through the implementation of the following methods and procedures.

First, according to Lickona (1993) all parties in the school environment must be given a chance to report all conflicts. This involves the students, teachers, parents or the administration. However, the most important party are the teachers since they may interact with parents, administration on a more regular basis. Nonetheless, teachers are at a disadvantage when there is the possibility of negative antecedent conditions that can lead to negative conflict and frustrating situations.

Second, the principal is particularly influential over the antecedent conditions of a school. This is according to the findings of a study aimed at investigating the types and nature of conflicts and their resulting solutions in a school environment. Therefore, the actions of the principal have a huge effect on the resulting climate in the school (Lam, 1988). Research finds principles are especially influential over the resulting organizational climate of the school. Their influence is thereby mostly used to handle conflicts through their ability to foster cooperative, trusting and open environments where the input of the staff is generally welcome (Ho, 2011).

Apart from the school environment, other places where conflicts are likely to arise, include the workplace. According to Ellen Raider and Susan Coleman (Deutsch, M., Coleman, P. T., & Marcus, 2011), there is typically an implementable six-day workshop that is aimed at resolving conflicts at the workplace. This elaborate workshop can als...

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