Thursday, August 22, 2019
Communication and conflict Essay Example for Free
Communication and conflict Essay Communication is important, as it is the medium of conveying message, forming the first interface in method of conflict resolution. Communication is almost always within the context of culture, and culture determines the significance of words as well as gestures and non-verbal expressions, affording people with choices of high context or low context communication, depending upon their cultural maturity and ability to handle multi-culturalism and accommodate a range of opinions and ideas other than those familiar to them (Grosse, 2002). During the initial phase of cultural familiarity, communication takes place at low context, meaning that people rely more on direct verbal communication, which is more or less literal in nature. As the cultural relationship progresses, communication interaction moves ahead on continuum to become high context, and it becomes more interpersonal and contextual, minimizing chances of misunderstanding and confusion. However, in cases where the entire cultural paradigms are set in low context or high context communication patterns, cultural crossover becomes a difficult barrier for all the involved parties. Effective cross cultural communication is centered upon knowledge, empathy and intercultural sensitivity (ibid). The correct approach in such cases is be flexible, adaptable and receptive to all views, no matter how contrary or incongruous they appear. A successful cross cultural communication situation demands coming over these contradictions and differences in opinion to form a harmonious vision. A positive and patient listening attitude is also valuable as it allows people to fathom emotions of others and makes them perceptible to alternate view points. Finally, the most important attribute in cross cultural communication is recognition that every culture is correct in its own context and each has to yield some ground to reach a harmonious consensus (ibid). Discussion on mediation and skills in conflict resolution Effective communication strategies are keys to resolve conflict by providing channels that provide expression of grievances and bring conflicting parties together. In the field of conflict management, communication strategies help through the channels of 1. Negotiation: Negotiation has emerged as an important form of conflict management within organizational and social setups. As such research in communication theory in conflict management has started to pay close attention to communication behaviors, types and strategies towards successful negotiation. Negotiation, as a part of managing conflict, requires interested parties to trade proposals for settlement that include, out of court settlements, business contracts, collective bargaining contract etc (Womack, 1990, 32). As Womack further elaborates, generally the process of negotiation proceeds through motives that are both competitive and cooperative. The approach of communication in the entire process of negotiation is concerned with the messages that are transferred among negotiators and the concerned parties. Communication intervenes in the process of negotiation through its both verbal and nonverbal forms and constitutes the entire base on which the goals and terms of the bargain are negotiated. Communication plays the central role in not only developing the relationship among the parties in conflict, but also in determining its direction. It is also central in every form of bargaining process, whether the bargaining is done for organizational form of conflict management, involves conflict resolution, negotiation on legal agreements or for negotiation in inter-group an intra group conflict. The entire role of communication in negotiation processes and strategies is quite vast and it ranges from defining the conflict issues, selection and implementation of strategies to presenting and defending the viable alternatives and finally helping in reaching on a solution (Womack, 1990, 35). 2. Third party intervention: Third party intervention in conflict situation is a tricky and challenging situation. It is considered as one of those areas that offers real test to the communication skills of the intervening person. Although mediation requires a neutral and third party to bring the disputants on the resolving chairs and solve the conflict, the mediator per se, has no authority and commanding power to force the parties into acquiescing to an agreement. At the best, the mediator can use persuasive and convincing dialogues through which the involved parties voluntarily agree to reach at accord through advises, admonishments, ideas, and views of the mediator and break into meaningful dialogue with each other (Burrel, 1990, 54). Its easy to see that this entire procedure requires very high level of communication skills on the part of the mediator to successfully negotiate agreement among the conflicting parties. According to Burrel, one of the important communication skills in third party intervention is the ability to collect as much information as possible on the cause, background, and nature of conflict as well as on all the parties and individuals that are involved in the conflict. Burrel informs that an effective communication strategy to gather information is question-asking within a variety of communication approaches, some for example being, employment interviews, initial interactions and parent-child discourses, although there has been insignificant research on role of particular types of questions in mediation itself. However, it is established beyond question that the questioning abilities of a third party mediator are very important in striking a collaborative approach to the entire process of conflict management.