Chapter 1: Introduction to Conflict

Learning Objectives

In this chapter, we will:

  • Define conflict.
  • Describe the key elements of conflict.
  • Recognize how conflict can be differentiated from disputes, competitions, and interpersonal violence.
  • Identify three views to understanding conflict in the workplace.
  • Explain different levels at which conflict can occur.
  • Review common sources of conflict in the workplace.
  • Discuss the potential benefits and costs of conflict in the workplace.
  • Recognize the importance of conflict management skills for success in your personal and professional relationships.

Who do you have the most conflict with right now? Your answer to this question probably depends on the various contexts in your life. If you still live at home with a parent or parents, you may have daily conflicts with your family as you try to balance your autonomy, or desire for independence, with the practicalities of living under your family’s roof. If you’ve recently moved away to go to college, you may be negotiating roommate conflicts as you adjust to living with someone you may not know at all. You probably also have experiences managing conflict in romantic relationships, friendships, and in the workplace. In this chapter, we will introduce some introductory concepts and explore why understanding conflict is important for your career success.


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Conflict Management Copyright © 2022 by Laura Westmaas, BA, MSc is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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