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Understanding Conflict and Conflict Management. Pitambar Bhandari Assistant Professor Department of Conflict, Peace and Development Studies, T.U. SEP 23, 2011. Is Conflict necessary or not !. Definition of conflict. The term "Conflict" is defined as

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understanding conflict and conflict management

Understanding Conflict and Conflict Management


Assistant Professor

Department of Conflict, Peace and Development Studies, T.U.

SEP 23, 2011

definition of conflict
Definition of conflict
  • The term "Conflict" is defined as
  • "A struggle to resist or overcome; contest of opposing forces or powers; strife; battle".
  • "A state or condition of opposition, antagonism discord: the conflict of testimony.
  • Active antagonism, clash; collision.
  • Psychoanalyst, painful tension set up by a clash between opposed and contradictory impulses in an individual (Webster\'s comprehensive dictionary 1996
  • If you want peace, understand the war – Liddle hart
  • The story of the human race is war, and before history began murderous strife was universal and unending – Churchil
  • “Conflict is the result of opposing interests involving scarce resources, goal divergence and frustration” – NiklasSwanstrom
  • Conflict shouldn’t be defined simply in terms of violence (behavior) or hostility attitudes), but also include incompatibility or difference in issues position”. – Otto Czempiel
  • “A situation in which two or more parties strive to acquire the same scarce resources at the same time” – Peter Wallensteen
  • “Perceived differences in issue positions between two or more parties at the same moment in time” - Mikael Weissmann
types of conflict
Types of conflict

On the basis of the nature and form of conflict, it has been divided into five categories:

  • Structural conflict
  • Ideological/Theoretical Conflict
  • Interest Based Conflict
  • Factual Conflict
  • Relational Conflict
  • Structural : Differences and disagreements on the state structure- constitution, act and different law of the nation. This type of conflict prevails on the issues of unequal distribution of national resources.
  • Ideological: Differences on norms, values and ideology create the conflict.
  • Interest Based: Differences in interest, will and wishes among the people. Conflict remains in the latent and sometimes on the surface
  • Factual: Some Published fact and information might create conflict among individuals, group and parties. Issues concerning the border of the two countries, result of the election, etc.
  • Relational : Lack of communication, mis-understanding, misinterpretation, misconception of opponent
armed conflict
Armed conflict
  • UCDP uses concept of ‘Armed Conflict’ & focuses on ‘Conflict Resolution’.
  • CDP defines conflict as a contested incompatibility that concerns government or territory or both where the use of armed forces between parties results in at least 25 battle related deaths in a year.
  • UCDP divides conflicts into three categories:
  • Minor Armed Conflicts: at least 25 battle related deaths in a year.
  • Intermediate Armed Conflicts: More than 25 & less than 1000 battle related deaths in a year.
  • War: at least 1000 battle related deaths in a year. Uppsala Conflict Data Projects
  • Conflicts are divided according to types of conflict:
  • Interstate Armed Conflict – occur between two or more states
  • Internationalized Internal Armed Conflict – occurs between the government of a state & internal opposition groups, with intervention from other states in the form of troops.
  • Internal Armed Conflict – occurs between the government of a state and internal opposition group
  • UCDP aims to connect its data to development of conflict theory – specially in particular theories of Conflict Resolution.
  • Uppsala Conflict Data Project is the major, massive and well funded research project in the world.
  • Latent Conflict: Parties have different interests or incompatible goal. Hidden
  • Confrontational: Open-people do not listen anymore to the arguments of the opponent.
  • Crisis: Escalation of violence. Communication between the parties has come to an end.
  • Outcome: Defeat of one side or a cease fire.
  • Post conflict: Conflict resolved. But if the issues are not dealt properly, another pre-conflict situation will rise.
reasons and issues of conflict
Reasons and issues of Conflict
  • Differences and contradictions about:
  • Goals
  • Power
  • Ideas
  • Values
  • Perception
  • Access to resources
  • Grievances
conflict within the individual
Conflict within the individual
  • Anger
  • Self – hatred
  • Addiction
  • Revenge
  • Blame
interpersonal conflict
Interpersonal Conflict
  • Marital tension
  • Family strife
  • Disputes with friends and neighbors
  • Conflict at work or school.
family conflict
Family Conflict

Members pursue self-interest over the welfare of family.

  • Infidelity
  • Money issues
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Careerism
  • Alcoholism
  • Family power and resource sharing
  • Position change
social conflict
Social Conflict
  • Religion
  • Ethnic Tension
  • Legal disputes
  • Abuse of power
  • War

Conflict Management,

Conflict Resolution


Conflict Transformation?


The approach of the Conflict Management school is to end wars through different diplomatic initiatives. This is the oldest school of thought, closely linked to the institutionalization of peacebuilding in international law.

􀁺 The peacebuilders within the logic of this school are external diplomats from bilateral or multilateral organizations.

􀁺 Its theoretical approach is referred to as outcome-oriented approach, which aims to identify and bring to the negotiating table leaders of the conflict parties. Its main focus is on the short-term management of the armed conflict.


Conflict Management is a process of making progress – developing mutual gains of both parties, achieving agreements, lying foundations for further negotiations or managing the conflict as much as possible to reduce violence.

􀁺 In legal sense – CM is application of existing laws & regulations to ensure the rights & provides remedies that reconcile past prejudices.

􀁺 In the political discourse management of conflict is sharing of power and privileges.

􀁺 Two schools of thoughts prevails within CM Discourse

􀁻 Conflict as ‘Pathological & Dysfunctional’ – needs to be suppressed or end it.

􀁻 Conflict as functional means for ‘Social Change’ – constructive social process.


Power mediation is a special form of conflict management, with the same criteria as the outcome-oriented approach but including the possibility of applying external power, including financial carrots and/or military sticks, on the parties.

conflict resolution
Conflict Resolution
  • What: Bridge between a very narrow concept of peace (no war) and a very broad one (justice)
armed conflict and conflict resolution
Armed conflict and conflict resolution
  • CR as a situation where the conflicting parties enter into an agreement that solves their central incompatibilities accept each other’s continued existence as parties and cease all violent action against each other.
  • Agreement: A formal understanding, a document signed may be informal requires trust.
peace agreement is the integral part of conflict resolution
Peace Agreement is the Integral part of conflict Resolution
  • Trust versus Test
  • A 10-year long armed conflict and the conflict resolution practice has many dimensions.
  • 12-point Understanding between CPN (Maoist) and Seven Political Parties in 2005 in Delhi.
  • Comprehensive Peace accord 2006
major challenges in promoting culture of peace in nepal
Major Challenges in promoting culture of Peace in Nepal
  • Conflict Dynamics
  • Impunity
  • Lack of strong and accountable government
  • Intra party conflict
  • Formation of youth militia type of organizations by the major political parties.
  • Delay in implementing the major provision mentioned in CPA 2006
  • Underlying ethnic tension
  • Reintegration and rehabilitation of Maoist ex-combatants.