Conflicts: An Introduction

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The positive or negative influence of the conflict situation mostly depend on the trainer's appropriate and neutral intervention. The conflict resolution is very important because conflict influences the quality of collaboration and cooperation in the group. With conflict management we improve the quality and efficiency of communication in our group and equip our participants with conflict management skills.


  • Conflict occurs when a person has a need and that need is not met.
  • In conflicts at least two parties are involved (individuals, groups, states, etc.).
  • It seems that meeting the need of one party is incompatible to meeting the need of the other party.

In our society, in everyday life there is a competition over different interests, goals, identities, values or norms that often seem incompatible, causing conflicts. Conflicts are an inevitable part of our daily life and a part of our development. With the increasing complexity of a conflict the requirements for possible solving capacity are increasing.

Whether a Positive Nor a Negative Relation

Every conflict has its positive and negative sides, depending on various factors. However, there is an opinion that conflict is a bad phenomenon full of disturbances, but if we consider the conflict (whether intrapersonal or interpersonal) we can see it contributes to bringing out our tension and negative emotions, thus it brings us to the mental state of relaxation.

Conflicts contribute to the creation of positive relations and to the improvement of bad relations because very often we can establish good working relationships just through talks, discussions and debates. [1] Facilitators improve with conflict management the quality and efficieny of communication in a group and equip participants with conflict management skills.

Classification of Conflicts

Interpersonal conflict

The conflict between two individuals. People are different from one another. We all have different personalities which usually results to incompatible wishes, interests and choices.

Intrapersonal conflict

A conflict within an individual. It is a type of conflict that is psychological involving the individual’s thoughts, values, principles and emotions. It brings to depression. In such occasions, the best way to get rid of the anxiety is the communication with other people. Eventually, when you find yourself out of the situation, you can become more empowered as a person. Thus, the experience causes a positive change and will help you in your own personal development.

Intragroup conflict

It occurs among individuals within a team. It arises from interpersonal disagreements (e.g. team members have varied personalities which may create tension) or differences in views and ideas. Within a team, conflict can be helpful for coming up with decisions which will eventually allow them to reach their objectives as a team.

Intergroup conflict

A conflict among different groups by cause of disagreement. This is due to the different sets of goals and interests of these varied groups.


Latent and Manifest Conflicts

It is important to mention that conflicts between partner organizations, participants and trainers may be obvious manifest and hidden latent conflicts.

  • Latent is the conflict when there is the conflict but is not clear who has the conflict or over what conflict occurred.
  • In the case of manifest conflict it is obvious there is a conflict. It is clear who has the conflict.

Inspiring Handbooks and Sources from the Community


  1. W. Zartmann: Conflict Resolution and Negotiation, in: Bercovitch, Jacob et al.2009: Los Angeles; T. Bonacker, P. Imbusch: Begriffe der Friedens- und Konfliktforschung: Konflikt, Gewalt, Krieg, Frieden, in: Peter Imbusch/Ralf Zoll (eds.): Friedens- und Konfliktforschung. Eine Einführung mit Quellen, Wiesbaden (5th edition)
  2. Types of Conflict: Four Classifications, last download on 11.11.2015

Varsenik Minasyan

Facilitator and expert for non-formal education, condlict management and right-wing extremism.