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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES 04

9810-CONFLICT: IDENTIFICATION, ANALYSIS, AND RESOLUTION

Paper Presented at the 15th International Leadership Training programme Islamabad Pakistan 01-31st October 1998 by Prof Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, International Islamic University, Malaysia.

OUTLINES

UNDERSTANDING THE CONFLICT

BACHGROUND TO CONFLICT

TYPES OF CONFLICT

SELF ESTEEM AND POWER IN CONFLICT

CAUSES OF CONFLICT BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS

PROGRESS OF CONFLICTS

RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONFLICTS

CONFLICT: DANGER AND OPPORTUNITY

APPROACHES TO A CONFLICT

PRINCIPLES OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION

FACTORS OF RESOLUTION

STAGES OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION

METHODS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION

 

1.0 UNDERSTANDING THE CONFLICT

Conflict among people is human and is natural. A conflict-free situation is unimaginable. A conflict is an expressed struggle among interdependent persons with perceived incompatible goals or perceived scarce resources in presence of interference of one by the other. People with no common activities or interaction do not conflict

 

2.0 BACKGROUND TO CONFLICT

The cause of a conflict may not be easily identifiable. Prior bad experience may build up to a level that a minor incident triggers off a major conflict. The reaction may not be proportional to the perceived cause of the conflict. Negative behavior overdraws the emotional reserves exposing people to a major conflict even over a minor matter. Shaytan is always at the root of dissension. Develop the attitude of holding out against Shaytan's temptations.

 

3.0 TYPES OF CONFLICT

A conflict may be healthy when it is resolved and all learn from it. It is dysfunctional if it remains unresolved and has secondary effects. Some conflicts are structural. They are there and are only waiting to happen. Other conflicts are personal and have a lot of involved emotional and psychological relationships that even those involved may not be aware of.

 

4.0 SELF ESTEEM AND POWER IN CONFLICT

All conflicts involve issues of self esteem and power. Low self-esteem vis-a-vis others is a cause of aggressive action meant to redress the balance. Those who wield power may misuse it to hurt others and a conflict situation is created.

 

5.0 CAUSES OF CONFLICT BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS

The main causes of conflict between individuals are: unbalanced power relations, jealousy, competition, and poor communication. Imbalance in power relationships may be a cause of conflict between individuals. Power is manifested as: expertise, control over resources, personal links, communication. In a high/low power situation conflicts arise very easily unless measures are taken to control the situation.

 

6.0 PROGRESS OF CONFLICTS

A conflict situation progresses from having differences over some matter, emotional involvement, adds-ons, and resolution of the conflict. Conflicts have secondary effects that eventually weaken the group or the society.

 

7.0 RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONFLICTS

Both parties to a conflict bear responsibility for the bad turn of events. The degree of culpability varies. Conflict can be lessened or can be managed positively; it can not be avoided. It is therefore necessary to learn how to manage conflicts.

 

8.0 CONFLICT: DANGER AND OPPORTUNITY

Conflict may be positive if it is managed well and the group learns from it emerging stronger. It may be negative and end with the break-up of the group. Any conflict situation should be a school. You learn from it to deal better with future conflicts. You should learn to move from conflict to creative solutions

 

9.0 CONFLICTS: AVOIDANCE, ENGAGEMENT, PREVENTION

It is often best to avoid a conflict. When it occurs then you have to be engaged in its solution. Conflicts can be prevented primarily by avoiding them and taking measures to prevent their growth if they are imminent. Avoidance is not cowardice. It is strength. It means taking the higher road.

 

10.0 PRINCIPLES OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION

There are principles that must be followed in conflict resolution. Stick to and do not compromise basic principles. Contain the conflict; do not allow it to go to extremes. Avoid emotions.  Exercise self-restraint. Do not quarrel, accuse, or abuse; this will increase the conflict. Control your anger, its expression does not help conflict resolution. Anger is a secondary emotion with underlying fear. Any conflict must not be allowed to be permanent. Initiate or respond to reconciliation. The one who initiates reconciliation is the better one of the two. Initiate and maintain dialog. Look for options: change yourself, try to change others, change conditions of the conflict

 

11.0 FACTORS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Resolution of a conflict is affected by the size of the problem, how far the problem is personalized, hidden agendas and concerns, and attitude to a positive resolution.

 

12.0 STAGES OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROCESS

The conflict resolution process proceeds in stages: identifying symptoms of the conflict, identifying causes, identifying solution methods, and implementation of the ideal solution method.

 

13.0 METHODS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Conflict management is an important function of group maintenance. Among the methods used in conflict resolution: avoidance, accommodation, smoothing, bargaining, collaboration, authoritarian settlement, third party arbitration/mediation. Start by identifying the sources of conflict (aggressive personalities, conflicting roles, differences in values, objectives, and perceptions, unsatisfactory communication, poor leadership, seeking individual and not team recognition and credit); next identify consequences of conflict, negative and positive; Use conflict-resolution techniques to resolve the conflict. If you are engaged as a third party to resolve a conflict proceed as follows: identify the need to intervene, decide to intervene, negotiate your role, assess the conflict, design intervention method (consultation, arbitration, training, problem solving), and select intervention tactic.

 

DISCUSSION

 

NATURE OF CONFLICTS

Write 1-3 sentences on your views of the following concepts"

 

Conflict is innate

Conflict is an aberration and is pathological

Harmony is normal, conflict is a temporary abnormality

Conflict is the same as disagreement

Conflict is a clash of personalities

Conflict is a clash of interests

Human aggression is the cause of conflict

Peace and aggression are on opposite poles

Emotions follow/come before conflict

Parties to a conflict are interdependent to a certain extent

 

CAUSES OF CONFLICTS

Recollect from your personal experience one example of each type of conflict below. What were the causes and How was the conflict resolved?.

Conflict between groups

Conflict within a group

Conflict between individuals

 

LONG-TERM CONSENQUENCES OF CONFLICTS

Try to recollect from your personal experience one conflict that was not resolved satisfactorily. What were its long-term consequences?

 

DESCRIBING CONFLICT RESOLUTION METHODS

Describe the following methods of conflict resolution according to the criteria of aggressive (high/low) or cooperative (high/low)

Avoidance                               

Accommodation                                  

Smoothing                                           

Competition (win-lose)

Compromise/bargaining           

Collaboration

Authoritarian

                                                                       

SELECTION OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION METHODS

Select the most suitable conflict resolution method for each of the following given situations:

You are wrong

You are losing

You want harmony

Issue trivial

Gaining time

Expediency

Goals important

Others competing

Decisive action

 

CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN YOUR ORGANIZATION OR COMMUNITY

Think of your own organization or any other organization that you know very well. Remember a recent conflict situation that was either resolved well or is still persisting. Analyse that situation using the following outline:

Type (healthy, dysfunctional)

Cause(s)

Consequences

Determinants of conflict resolution

Process of resolution

Methods used in resolution

 

TEXT ANALYSIS

DIFFERENT  WAYS OF DOING THE SAME THING RIGHT

"Narrated Abdullah that he heard a man reciting a Qur'anic Verse which he had heard the Prophet reciting in a different way. So he took that man to the Prophet (may peace be upon him) (and told him the story ). The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said, "Both of you are reciting in a correct way, so carry on reciting." The Prophet (may peace be upon him) further added," The nations which were before you were destroyed (by Allah) because they differed". Bukhari 6:522, hadith # 582

 

DISPUTES ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THE DEVIL

"Abu said al Khudri ( Allah be pleased with him ) reported: The Messenger of Allah ( may peace be upon him ) observed itikaf in the middle ten days of Ramandan to seek Lailat ul Qadr, before it was made manifest to him. When ( these nights ) were over, he commanded to strike the tent. Then it was made manifest to him that ( Lailat ul Qadr ) was in the last ten nights ( of Ramadan ), and commanded to pitch the tent ( again ). He then came to the people and said: O people, Lailat ul Qadr was made manifest to me and I came out to inform you about it that two persons came contending with each other and there was a devil along with them and I forgot it, So seek it in the last ten nights of Ramadan...

 

MUSLIMS CAN NOT FIGHT ONE ANOTHER

"Ahnaf bin Qais said: I came out with the intention of ( participating in ) fighting. Abu Bakrah met me and said: Go back, for I heard the Apostle of Allah ( may peace be upon him ) say: When two Muslims face each other with their swords, the killer and the slain will go to Hell, He asked: Apostle of Allah, this is the killer ( so naturally he should go to Hell ), but what is the matter with the slain? He replied: He intended to kill his companions". Abu Daud 3:1186, Chapter 1583, Hadith # 4255

 

SETTLING DISPUTES BY MUTUAL FORGIVENESS

Narrated Abu Ad-Darda : While I was sitting with the Prophet, Abu Bakr came, lifting up one corner of his garment uncovering his knee, The Prophet said, " Your companion has had a quarrel." Abu Bakr greeted ( the Prophet ) and said, " O Allah's Apostle! There was some thing ( i.e. quarrel ) between me and the Son of Al-Khattab. I talked to him harshly and then regretted that, and requested him to forgive me, but he refused. This is why I have come to you. " The Prophet said thrice, " O Abu Bakr! May Allah forgive you." In the meanwhile, Umar regretted ( his refusal of Abu Bakr's excuse ) and went to Abu Bakr's house and asked if Abu Bakr was there. They replied in the negative. So he came to the Prophet and greeted him, but signs of displeasure appeared on the face of the Prophet till Abu Bakr puttied ( Umar ), so he knelt and said twice, " O Allah's Apostle ! By Allah ! I was more unjust to him ( than he to me). Bukhari 5:8 ( hadith # 13 )

 

SETTLING A DISPUTE BY EQUAL TREATMENT

The clans then gathered stones to rebuild the Kaabah. Each clan gathered them separately and built separately, and when the building reached the place where the Black Stone was to be put they began to dispute about it, since every clan wished to lift the Stone to its place to the exclusion of the other clans. They started to split up into factions, to form alliances, and to make agreements among themselves in preparation for battle. The Banu Abd al-Dar brought a bowl full of blood and made a compact with the Banu Adi b. Ka'b to support one another to the death. They thrust their hands into this bowl of blood, and were called "the bloodlickers" (la'aqat al-dam) on account of this. The Quraysh remained in this state for four or five days, and then they gathered in the mosque to consult together and to reach an equitable agreement. Some narrators assert that Abu Umayyah b. al-Mughirah, who at that time was the oldest member of Quraysh, said, "Men of Quraysh, make the first man who comes in at the door of this mosque the arbiter of your differences so that he may judge on the matter." The first man to come in was the Messenger of God, and when they saw him they said, "This is the trustworthy one (al-amin) with whom we are satisfied. This is Muhammad." He came up to them, and they told him about the matter, and he said, "Bring me a cloak." They brought him one, and he took the Black Stone and placed it on it with his own hands. Then he said, "Let each clan take one side of the cloak, and then lift it up all together." They did so, and when they had brought it to its place he put it in position with his own hands. Then they built on top of it before the revelation first came to him, Quraysh used to call the Messenger of God "the trustworthy one.". Tabari 6:58-59

 

AVOIDING CONFLICTS

Narrated Ibn Al-Hanafiya: If Ali had spoken anything bad about Uthman then he would have mentioned the day when some persons came to him and complained about the Zakat officials of Uthman. Ali then said to me, "Go to Uthman and say to him, 'This document contains the regulations of spending the Sadaqa of Allah's Apostle, so order your Zakat officials to act accordingly." I took the document to Uthman. Uthman said, "Take it away, for we are not in need of it." I returned to Ali with it and informed him of that. He said, "Put it whence you took it.". Bukhari 4:220-221, hadith # 343

Omar Hasan Kasule October 1998