Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"Stages" for understanding Conflict

The following five stages for discerning conflict are explained in detail here:

Conflict, in general, builds through five stages - Discomfort, Incident, Misunderstanding, Tension and Crisis, although it can begin at any one of the first three stages. The earlier a conflict is identified and dealt with, the easier it is to resolve

This is the html version of the file  ( Google automatically generates html versions of documents as we crawl the web. )

 Conflict Resolution & Understanding Conflict

 Understanding Conflict
    Conflict is all around us.  It is not something that we can choose to have or not have.  It just is.
    It may center on something as seemingly trivial as who leaves their dirty cups in the sink, where to go eat lunch, or whether or not to buy that new piece of stereo equipment.

    Or it may be more complex, such as whether we should invest in stock or bonds,  or what college your child should attend to get the best education.

    This course is not about avoiding conflict.  Avoiding it is not only impossible but undesirable.
    This course is about discovering productive ways of handling conflict, ways that make a difference in all areas of our lives.

 Understanding Conflict
    Conflict can be considered:
    Difference of opinion or perspective; such as between a mechanic and inspector.
    Differences in personality

    Think of a conflict which has been handled in a destructive manner…Some of the resulting outcomes of this were probably:
    Unresolved Problems
    Low Productivity
    Sour Relationships
    Ill Health

    Now think of a conflict that has been handled constructively.  Some results of this may have been:
    Higher Productivity
    Good Health
    Sense of Achievement
    Increased Confidence
    Expanding Friendly Relations

    We have all had the experiences of handling conflict both constructively and destructively.  The outcomes of conflicts handled constructively are so much more attractive that it is hard to imagine we would settle for less.

    There are several stages we can go through before we reach the level of conflict.

Understanding Conflict
Levels of Conflict - Discomfort

    Perhaps nothing is said as yet, however things don’t feel right.
    It maybe difficult at this stage to identify what the problem is.

Understanding Conflict
Levels of Conflict - Incident

    A short sharp exchange may occur without any lasting internal reaction.
    Something may have occurred between you and someone else that has left you upset, irritated or with a result you did not want.

 Understanding Conflict
Levels of Conflict -Misunderstanding

    The details of a situation may be unclear.  The motive or intent of a situation not fully understood by the parties involved.

  Understanding Conflict
 Level of Conflict - Tension

    You may start feeling anxious about your relationship with the other person.
    Maybe you are at the point where just one more nudge will “push you over the edge”, ready to give them a “piece of your mind”.
    This level may build to the point where each interaction with this person confirms your negative attitude towards them.
    The relationship may become a cause for constant worry and concern.

 Understanding Conflict
Levels of Conflict – Crisis

    Behavior is affected and normal functioning starts to become difficult.
    No longer talking to the other individual.
    Or conversely, screaming at one another.
    Quitting your job or worse yet be dismissed.
    Throw china, or whatever else is close at hand.

Understanding Conflict
Levels of Conflict – Stay Alert

    As you can see we want to avoid ever getting to the “crisis” stage.
    We should always be on the look out for clues at the discomfort and incident level.
    Dealing with conflict at these levels is much easier than at crisis stage, where emotions are running high.
    By working on solving the issue at the discomfort level we have a greater chance of achieving a constructive rather than destructive outcome.

Understanding Conflict

    Discovered what conflict is and learned the various levels at which it develops.
    Learned to look for the early clues to conflict, and to stay alert and be ready to act, if and when appropriate.
    One should greet conflict in a positive way, ready to learn something new or improve on relationships.

Credit : We wish to thank the Conflict Resolution Network for their generous donation of materials used in the creation of this presentation.  Conflict Resolution Network      PO Box 1016, Chatswood NSW 2057   Phone: +61 (0)2 9419-8500       Email:     Website:

Credit     This course was created by AMFA Local 11 to assist in the education of its Professional Standards Committee members.  Permission to use this material is granted to any AMFA Local.  This course was created using materials provided by The Conflict Resolution Network.  Permission has been extended to use this material providing credit remains intact on all modules.


Cultural Fluency & Conflict Literacy

I learned more about Michelle LeBaron today.

She has insightful ideas about the need to understand the depth of cultural issues that shape conflicts among persons.

I could share more, but these links provide great summary details for your learning.

Toward eupan  ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Faith Based Conflict Transformation

When people are engaged in projects, there is potential for conflict.

The United Methodist Church has been working to insure that congregations are places of peace, even while they recognize that conflict may take place within congregations.

Toward that end,  reflects the intentional efforts of the United Methodist Church to provide resources and tools for faith communities toward the transformation of conflict to peace.

Great resource links at the JustPeaceUMC blog and at the JustPeaceUMC resources page!

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Convene for Peace

"The biggest dis-service we do to peacemaking is to make it an abstraction.  When we say things like, 'This is what the Bible says about peace," or 'This is what the Koran says about peace" we deal with abstractions. Our issues need to be, how do we actually negotiate peace-making?"  - not an exact quote, but captured as quoted idea from Najeeba Sayeed-Miller.  (At DUKE Divinity Center for Reconciliation Summer Institute 2014)

Learning more about Elise Boulding in these days - and my life is better as a result.  More here on Elise.

Leonard Fein has pointed out that the number one power in peacemaking is the power to convene.  More works by Leonard Fein here.

Toward eupan ~

marty alan michelson, ph.d.

The Practice of Peace - Making Peace Possible

I've been thinking recently about the term "practitioner."
  • The term is used for persons who have developed an expertise, as for Medical Doctors who are Medical practitioners.
  • And yet, the term is also used among Eastern Religions/Culture for persons who engage in certain practices as a routine in their life, for example, persons who are practitioners of yoga.
  • We don't commonly use the term "practitioner" for persons who are practicing for a sport (baseball, football, basketball, tennis, etc), though it is certainly true that persons practice the sport in order to develop their skill to perform on the playing field/court.

This week I'm spending some time with Rick Love and getting to know Peace Catalyst International while I'm at DUKE University's Center for Reconciliation.

For many years now I've used the label for myself as a Peacemaker.  I like the term and think it is important for many reasons.  We work to make peace.

I wonder, though, if the label of Peace Practitioner would be more helpful as we move to the future.

Our goal, after all, is to regularly practice peace.  And, as we practice the habits, and conversation, and lifestyle of practicing peace, we develop our skills, we reshape the routines of our lives, and we develop the expertise of bringing peace in our world.

Let's practice peace together.

Let's make peace possible.

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

(Image credit - Hope for Peace and Justice, Dallas, TX)