Good, Bad, and Downright Ugly Sides of Conflict

Posted by on Aug 12, 2015 in Communication, Conflict Theory, developing interpersonal, Managing Conflict | Comments Off on Good, Bad, and Downright Ugly Sides of Conflict

bad+uglyConflict can fall, as a generalization, under three categories of results: good, bad, and downright ugly.

These results are not about the process of how conflict was managed, a different exploration all together, but an end product of its impact on an environment and/or human transformation. Determining the end result may not be immediate as conflict’s impact may not be understood or recognized for a long time after the event.

Good conflict provides clarity, growth, and positive movement. People or environments are improved, and the results have a lasting effect. Seatbelts are a good example. The conflict that surfaced around the requirements of cars having seatbelts, people having to use them, and, finally, the law established to enforce seatbelt usage was significant. The outcome, though, has been profound in saving human lives. The result of the conflict surrounding seatbelts had a positive effect on nearly all people.

Bad conflict erodes the human spirit, and everyone has been touched by it sometime in his/her life. Everyday occurrence of the same types of conflict that are never addressed sufficiently and systematically break down environments and individuals’ sense of well-being are widespread. The one thing that all these conflicts have in common is someone who has power over others who shouldn’t have it. Those without the power are the targets. Supervisors, parents, public servants, hierarchy of all social structures, just to name a few, have a direct impact of others and can make lives miserable who have to suffer under them. Those in power often lack understanding, education, or a willingness to improve; thus, a toxic cycle of their behavior is continued.

Finally, there is the ugly. Unlike bad conflict, there is an agenda for this type of conflict, it usually involves a group that is committed, and this type of conflict can have an extensive influence on people. These groups are fueled by anger, greed, hate, and even a self-serving righteous calling. This type of conflict is dedicated to getting power, disrupting communities, harming people and their environment, and creating economic, political, social, and community upheaval. Examples would include greedy corporations that harm environments and people such as Monsanto and Nestle. Groups that may not have a listing in the phone book would be The Ku Klux Klan, small and radical militant groups, and the Mafia.