Conflict Resolution Essay Example

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The practise of conflict resolution has, in the modern society, focused on conflicts taking place within the public as if there is a theatre stage with audiences watching the interactions unfolds. Within informal conflict resolution, the process is often facilitated by organizing the members using other methods rather than grievances, investigations, and litigations. Therefore, the resolvers make a crucial impact on the organizations through ensuring resolution or channeling the formal mechanism. The process also takes a non-rational approach, which involves spontaneous aspects of disputing driven through impulse and the feeling of the participants rather their physical recognition. Hence, emotions are means of managing conflicts instead of hindrances (Doherty & Guyler, 2008, 255). Essentially, emotions are valid expressions associated with conflict resolution; however, it does not imply mean a loss of reasons. Besides, acquisition of power and validity of the emotions tossed during the Age of Reasoning is necessary to gain holistic picture of the conflict dynamism. With regard to the family system theory, emotions are neither good nor bad through it is significant to monitor the intensity levels and duration. The intense emotions, anxiety, often call for the need of resolving the conflict. Upon the identification of anxiety and associated emotions expressed, people could think clearly and better equipped on ways of resolving the problems (Eunson, 2007, 172). The report will focus on the workplace conflict to illustrate the continuum of the emotions and associated intersection with cognitive reasoning.

The Conflict Highlight

The conflict occurred in publishing company located in New York. The company hired Rebecca to work as a copy editor within journal department. Seven other workers from the department were also editing the similar work including the senior organizational editor, Tim. Rebecca had worked within the company for about a month when she and her friend went for a walk after work. Each of the friends had a good time and consumed a considerable amount of alcohol. After completion, each of them went home except Tim, who had been attracted to Rebecca. He hailed the cab and offered to share with Rebecca, which she gladly accepted. Once Rebecca was inside the cab, Tim unexpectedly made a hostile sexual advance towards her. Appalled, Rebecca pushed him away then asked him out of the car. Seriously embarrassed, Tim slinked out of the cab.

The following day, Rebecca came to work as normally though she had some apprehension about how she was going to deal with Tim, the status of her work, and whether Tim was going to fire even if he was not her supervisor. Upon arrival, Tim went directly in Rebecca’s office to apologize for inappropriate behaviour. Tim felt grieved with the apology, and Rebecca failed to pursue the incident using a formal channel within the office. However, she figured that after the apology, it was unnecessary to dwell on the matter. Besides, she was a new employee and still had much to learn especially on the office politics and to prove her competency. Therefore, she decided not to rock the boat. Certainly, thing would have been okay if Tim stopped at the initial apology he offered though he kept apologizing whenever he saw Rebecca. The apology went for about three months, which to Rebecca was awkward and annoying. Paradoxically, through the continuous apologies made by Tim, he began foisting other forms of unwanted attention towards Rebecca. Upon making the first apology, Rebecca just said that it was okay; it reached a point when she asked him to stop apologizing. However, Tim continued. Through her frustration, she confided in two co-workers about her ordeal. Consequently, the two lost their respect for Tim.

Since the issue was not common in the office, Tim sensed something was a mess, and other knew about it through the interactions. With time, the issue became the issue of discussion. Meanwhile, Rebecca was tired to hear the apologies from Tim, which increased her discomfort. As a result, she applied for another editorial work within the company when the chance came and got the transfer. In her new position, Tim was no more to bother her although she was unhappy with the job since the department had boring journals. Consequently, she failed to put more efforts like those that she placed with other co-worker. While seeking advice, Rebecca decided to consult organizational ombudsman.

Analysis of Conflict

The cause of the conflict was sexual advancement in the cab that occurred in a private and enclosed place. Sexual issues are usually private but from the case, the consequences were played in the public. Additionally, the public spaces within the workplace tend to keep conflict issues in check and masked using conventional methods. The informal and private conflict handling methods are usually manifested using non-rational expressions including strong emotions, passive aggressiveness, and gossips (Lipsky, 2015, 29). From the case, privacy instance reflects on the fact that Tim and Rebecca were alone, domination of the non-rational discourse, and the actors finding ways to press their feelings. However, too much
apologies became non-rational expression although it was private. In turn, Rebecca responded informally in a private way. In addition, the private interactions lead to detrimental impact within the office.

The major reason for seeing the Ombudsman was because the conflict was private and she need to share the issue confidently since the role the ombudsmen is to handle informal conflicts. Different other methods, the ombudsman, ensure confidentiality unless permitted to do otherwise. Hence, the ombudsman could utilize other options for dispute resolutions like provision and receiving information, listening, reframing the cases and development of options, and shuttle diplomacy (International Association for Conflict Management, 2008, 132). Such activities calm the influence allowing people think through the problems. There are possibilities that people affected by harassment are those having the least power within the workplace. Accordingly, such people need employers to ensure provision of many different access people and open choice of complaints including learning on confidential basis on how to deal with harassers. The large underlying factor in the case is the power, which contributed to the turn of events.

Rebecca certainly felt helpless. The aggressive sexuality and assuming that Rebecca would welcome the advances reveals the inequities placed on women in a men-dominating society. In the western society, a woman is sexualized as an object (Roht-Arriaza & Mariezcurrena, 2006, 154). Therefore, the narcissistic assumption from Tim that Rebecca would be happy to receive his attention justified the ideology that men view women as objects. The power of imbalance was reflected in the sexual politics within the workplace. Tim and Rebecca managed to calm their anxieties to be able to share with others boldly then continuous apologies prevented the anxiety. Through continuous apologies, Tim demonstrated his anxiety, which escalated that of Rebecca. However, Rebecca brought other workers into the issue, and its intensification made her shift the job. To address the issue, she opted for the ombudsman to assist through the facilitation of direct communication between the two to air their concerns. In most cases, it is deal to directly with people causing the conflicts. However, it might be easy to eliminate the pattern of triangling as it is an automatic human response (Haynes, Haynes, & Fong, 2004, 105). The ombudsman might use the triangle as method of encouraging both parties to talk directly and manage their emotions.

Toward Resolution of the Conflict

Since the interests of Rebecca and Tim are similar, the ombudsman might suggest having the tree of them talk privately. The role of ombudsman is to facilitate the talks and mediate on the agreements. If Rebecca agreed, then the ombudsman would have to talk to Tim to ascertain if he was ready to talk to Rebecca and allay any fearing factors regarding Rebecca’s impartiality. The mediator had to broach Tim on the facilitated discussions with Rebecca, which took him as a surprise as he never expected such a move. The factor that relieved him was the fact that the meeting was confidential. The ombudsman explained to Tim that his frequent apology victimized and harassed Rebecca. Tim was confused about that on why it was a major issue to Rebecca. According to him, he was trying to be gentle by apologizing and had not intentions of causing her emotional distress.

When the ombudsman gave each of them the opportunity to explain what transpired, she sensed some tension was building up between the two so she felt tense as well. Before speaking, she was quiet for some time to calm herself since she knew that expression of her anxiety would worsen the tension in the room. She paraphrased both perspectives and commented that both of them suffered from the incident. Both Tim and Rebecca felt guilt and shame. Although opening up on such issues might be difficult, the ombudsman complemented them. While framing the emotional issue, the ombudsman said that the discussions might open ways for solutions and assist in reducing anger, building trust, putting aside old grievances, and increasing the level of understanding (Bercovitch & Jackson, 2009, 165). The positive and calm feedback of the ombudsman gave both parties the opportunity to take few steps back from the incident. Tim recognized the pain and agony he caused Rebecca and concurred that he trespassed. The guilt about the incident compelled him to apologize continuously and he needed was the hearing and acceptance of apology from Rebecca to put all behind him and hoped Rebecca would do the same.

According to Rebecca, she accepted the apology after the incident. However, her response was not Tim had expected to clear his conscious. Actually, she had reservation in accepting the apology and clearly stated her acceptance of the apology. Now, she had the opportunity of knowing why Tim continuously apologized to her since she was not angry with him. Tim thanked for accepting the apology and reciprocated through honouring her with a party. Both agreed to respect the feelings of each other and ensure they hold professional ethics while undertaking their daily duties. As a result, Rebecca re-applied for her old job. Rebecca realized that she was limiting her opportunities due anger generated by Tim.


It is clear that emotional expression was important element both conflict and its escalation as well the resolutions. During evaluation and resolution of conflict, the exhibited emotional patterns during anxiety could serve a signal warning that require intervention. In the case of the ombudsman, the family system theory was significant as it offers theoretical framework of resolving the problems informally to assist work through the conflict. Both the goals of the ombudsman and family system theory are similar since they both permit people to manage their problems effectively. If the ombudsman and others involved in conflict resolution share similar knowledge of the emotional patterns with the actors within the conflict, then their mechanisms are similar to those of the life-long process of differentiation. Additionally, even a small step towards ensuring self-awareness and less reactivity could make significant difference to prevent destructive conflicts.


. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Conflict resolution in the twenty-first century: Principles, methods, and approaches Bercovitch, J., & Jackson, R. 2009.

. London: Kogan Page. The essential guide to workplace mediation & conflict resolution: Rebuilding working relationships, M. 2008. Guyler Doherty, N., &

. Milton, Australia: John Wiley & Sons. Conflict management, B. 2007. Eunson

. Albany: State University of New York Press. Mediation: Positive conflict management Haynes, J. M., Haynes, G. L., & Fong, L. S. 2004.

. Oxford: Blackwell Pub. Negotiation and conflict management research International Association for Conflict Management. 2008.

(S1), 27-34. 33, Conflict Resolution Quarterly Lipsky, D. B. 2015. The Future of Conflict Management Systems.

Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. .Transitional justice in the twenty-first century: Beyond truth versus justice Roht-Arriaza, N., & Mariezcurrena, J. 2006.

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