Office of Student Activities & Involvement

Conflict Management

Define Conflict

  • Perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference in achieving their objectives.

Types/Levels of Conflict

  • Pseudo Conflict: misunderstanding.
  • Content Conflict: arguing about what was said.
    • Ex. "It was 1993./No, it was 1995."
  • Value Conflict: someone’s personal values.
    • Ex. "I want to have kids./I do not want kids."
  • Ego Conflict: focusing on the person instead of the topic.
    • Ex. "Replace my stuff." vs. "You're an idiot."

There are Seven Mistakes Made in Conflict Management:

  1. Avoiding Conflict is detrimental to good working relationships. It is important to discuss and work out issues.
  2. Fighting About the Wrong Stuff/Levels of Conflict – There are different levels of conflict so it is important to know what the conflict is over.
  3. Criticizing Instead of Complaining - Criticism is about the person whereas a Complaint is about the behavior.
  4. Escalation of Conflict - the first decision of a conflict is to avoid or confront. If you confront, do you compete or cooperate? (Reciprocity is how conflicts escalate)
  5. Attacking Person Instead of Topic - ego conflict destroys relationships. For relationships to survive, you need more positivity than negativity.
  6. Stuck in One Conflict Style - there are multiple ways to resolve conflicts so it is best to use the best method for the conflict.
  7. Lack of Empathy - we need to be willing to understand and suspend judgment, but, more importantly, we need to reframe conflicts.

For further assistance with this or any other issue relating to your student Organization, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Student Activities and Involvement at (989) 774-3016 or visit UC 101.