Conflict and Resolution

Whenever two or more people interact, either as individuals or as part of a group, there is always potential for conflict. It is no different when you interact with young people in a work setting: the potential for conflict is present. It is important that you are aware of that potential so that you are able to identify a conflict situation and intervene appropriately to control it.

Workers dealing with young people are often confronted with difficult situations in which they may be asked to assist in resolving young people’s problems and conflicts. These may be internal problems of relationships within a youth group, or relationships between young people and those in authority, or even conflict between yourself and the young people you are working with.

This module has been designed to help you understand the nature of conflict and its effects on people in a range of contexts, both at an individual and at a group level. We will also look at the processes involved in behaviour that occurs between different groups, called inter-group behaviour, and its potential impact on group members.

You will become familiar with techniques designed to facilitate the resolution of conflict, which will improve your ability to work effectively with and through conflict. Conflict can lead to both positive and negative outcomes, depending on how it is handled. Handled effectively, conflict can become the catalyst for new ideas and creative approaches for solving problems. It can also be the starting point for developing more positive relationships among the people that are party to a conflict.

Throughout the module, we will draw on practical examples from within the Commonwealth that illuminate the theory and practice of mediation and negotiation.

You are going to need examples of conflict to produce the assignments on which you will be assessed later on in the module. To do this, you might like to collect newspaper articles about current interpersonal, social and political conflict in your country or community. Other ways to collect material include listening to the
radio, talking to your family or friends and observing incidents in your youth group – and making notes.

You need to practice the analytical skills you have been developing throughout the course by identifying the causes and consequences of conflict, working out what you might do as a youth development worker in ensuring the resolution or positive outcomes of conflicts and passing these skills on to others.

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Conflict and Resolution