“The handbook of conflict resolution: Theory and Practice,” offers detailed information on conflict resolution, managing conflicts in a constructive way and effective use of win-win solutions. This is book is meant for both students and professionals who want to have a deeper understanding on matters concerning conflicts and the knowledge of managing them. Many topics are covered by this book with detailed information on: justice, cooperation and competition, resolving conflicts, and working with both conflict and culture.
Chapter 15 of the book explores personality and conflict. Generally, personality has been defined as one’s character which is made up of his or her emotions, thoughts and psychological behavior (Deutsch, p. 332).
Personality has been demonstrated as the unique part of human beings and it includes opinions, moods, motivations, way of thinking and acting. The author equips the conflicting parties with important information on how to solve their conflicts (Deutsch, p. 333). To solve conflicts, the parties are required to understand each other’s psychological interests. This is because the main cause of conflicts is unrecognized interests and un-understood personality.
Conflicts have been classified into two; external conflict and internal conflicts. External conflicts are as a result of external pressures like different interests and personalities, and unattended needs. Internal conflicts occur between fears, conscience and desires; mainly it is a conflict within oneself; what one wants or does not want and the outcomes of all these.
The author depicts that one’s mature personality is determined by their experiences from the time they are young and as they grow into maturity or adulthood. Early life experiences determine ones personality, for example a child who has grown with encouragement from parents tends to be confident in life compared to the one who is rebuked for everything they do. Personality determines how an individual solves conflicts and the defense mechanism he or she develops. Defense mechanisms entirely depend on one’s character. For example, people who communicate effectively keep an open mind in all matters as compared to their counterparts (Deutsch, p. 345). There is a great relationship between one’s personality and the conflict behavior since personality matters in solving these conflicts.
In chapter 16, the author explores ways of solving conflicts from the young age to the adult stage. This is because at different ages conflicts are resolved differently. Here, the authors consider one’s behavior as more important than their feelings. We learn that, one’s social and emotional setting determine resolution skills they employ. Different ages have different degrees of intellectual and sensory developments, thus resolution skills have to differ (Deutsch, p. 367).
In the same chapter, theories which determine an individual’s personality and how they impact conflicts are explored. The two theories discussed are: entity theory and incremental theory. Entity theory assumes that a person’s character is fixed while the incremental theory assumes that people can actually change. In real life issues, people holding entity theory always have a certain perception towards people in regard to how they treat them. Parents and teachers are advised to teach children how to resolve conflicts at an early age, and how to make these skills a habit to adulthood (Deutsch, p. 380).
Chapter 19 demonstrates how one can be creative enough to develop results or outcomes that are beneficial in times of conflict. The main idea of this chapter is to illustrate how an individual can turn conflicts into creative outcomes. In real life, we are brought up in different social setting with different emotions, thus the way we communicate differs meaning that conflicts are bound to rise (Carnevale, p. 415). Through negotiation, it is possible to come up with a resolution that creates a better understanding towards each other. Therefore, conflicts depend on how we perceive them, if the perception is negative then the impact will be negative but with creativity conflicting parties can develop effective resolutions.
These three chapters offer the reader good insights on issues concerning personality and conflicts, how to develop resolution skills in times of conflict, and importance of creativity as an outcome of creativity. This comprehensive scope gives the reader some kind of personal and implicit theories that are related to conflict in one way or another.
- Carnevale, Paul. Creativity in the outcomes of conflict. Handbook of conflict resolution: theory and practice 1. 1 (2006):414-435. Print.
- Deutsch, Morton. The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass, 2006. Print.