Script: The Basics of Psychology for Christian Ministry
Homework Assignments

3.5.3 Conflict management and resolution

The below diagram from a consultant’s website provides a framework for a broader and deeper conflict resolution process that addresses the root of the problems perpetuating the

conflict and it also includes a process of restoration. Conflicts that have escalated to the contest stage usually require outside mediation. In fact, some form of mediation or at least consultation may already be helpful at an earlier stage of a conflict.

The first step needs to be some negotiated truce where the arguing parties agree to a cooling down and refocusing of the dialogue on the original problem. With outside help, they will likely come to a point where the matter that gave rise to the argument can be settled. However, this will only lead to a temporary improvement if there are underlying issues hiding behind the day-to-day conflicts. There could be any number of reasons, such as deficits in communication, personality clashes, or problems resulting from some flaws in the structure of the organization. Resolving these requires a deeper analysis of the problem in its larger context and a more sustained intervention. 


Some general principles and rules for conflict management and resolution include the following:

  • Learn to welcome conflict as a necessary part of change and growth
  • Assume that members of the other group have essentially good intentions   
  • Raise awareness of shared superordinate goals
  • Agree on fair rules of engagement
  • Practice open, non-judgmental communication
  • Increase capacity for empathy by regularly practicing taking someone else’s perspective