Advocacy, adjudication, bargaining, conciliation, mediation, negotiation, and withdrawal are examples of conflict management. Professionals in the field of conflict management often encourage parties in conflict, who share common relationships, to develop mutual ground or a shared narrative. Ideally this is to attain a workable outcome that parties can live with to resolve their disputes.
At times parties in dispute may require the assistance of an impartial mediator to achieve a sense of closure for all concerned. This process can be particularly helpful in situations involving groups such as:
- couples and families;
- employers and employees;
- retailers and suppliers;
- teenagers and parents;
- victims and offenders;
- wherever conflict is seen to exist, for example, between parties to a contract.
Focus in conflict management and human rights seem to be on developing autonomy, liberty or peace. Deviant behaviours that disrupt peace could provide opportunities for individuals and communities to learn and to heal (Hassell, 1996, pp. 31-32). Conflict management strategies, including mediation, may be applied in formal or less official situations to address disputes (Barsky, 2000, pp. 185-186). A common theme that binds approaches to conflict management and human rights is giving parties the dignity of exercising personal or social choices. An individual’s or group’s opportunities to exercise personal or social choice may be limited by the law. However, at a central core individuals and groups might have some level of autonomy. Citations to the literature are available upon request.
“To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war” (Sir Winston Churchill).
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