Conflicts are understood as situations of tension between individuals, groups or even organizations in which at least one of the persons involved perceives differences or discrepancies to be inhibitive.
Conflicts are quite commonplace and inevitable in human interaction.
Our work deals with social conflicts, conflicts in the workplace, in situations of cooperation , in education, in studies, within an organization, in a company.
Components of a conflict are:
1. There are at least two different conflict poles involved. This constellation can occur between two or more people; or even within an individual
2. There is a dependency in the form of a common theme, goal, concern or context.
3. There are emotions in play. The people involved feel uncomfortable. This can range from mild tension, through anger, anxiety or similarly strong emotions, to physical symptoms and illness.
4. There is a field of tension. This field of tension can be in different areas.
So it may be that ...
• participants have different goals or intentions,
• there is a different assessment or perception of the situation, e.g. different ideas and expectations of team work,
• there are scarce or supposedly scarce resources,
• the functions or roles of people involved are either unclear, too diverse or too limited,
• the relationship is disturbed and the persons involved experience each other differently or literally “cannot stand each other”. Often, however, there is also a pretense and an unresolved conflict is disputed as a conflict of relations; or vice versa, a relationship conflict is suppressed and the parties argue (apparently) only about the matter at hand, and / or
• there are personal conflicts. Participants feel conflicts within themselves, whether through upcoming decisions, suppressed or repressed desires or contradictory demands on their person.
Source: Kreyenberg, Jutta: Handbuch Konfliktmanagement. Berlin: Cornelsen 2005, 2nd edition, pp. 52-54.
• Bullying is a form of escalated conflict and requires its own strategies for action and protection.