Incident and conflict situation - Conflictology in social work

5.3. Incident and conflict situation

The transition from a latent state to an open confrontation occurs as a result of an incident. Incident is an action based on a formal motive for direct confrontation between participants. The occasion is a concrete event that serves as a trigger for the beginning of conflict actions. In this case, it can arise accidentally, and may be planned in advance, but the reason is not yet a conflict. In contrast, the incident is already a conflict, its beginning.

Therefore, the incident often creates an ambivalent situation in the attitudes and actions of the opponents of the conflict. Therefore, important elements of the development of the conflict at this stage are gathering information about the true capabilities and intentions of opponents, seeking allies and enlisting additional forces. Since the confrontation is local in the incident, the full potential of the parties to the conflict has not yet been demonstrated.

Conflict situation is the accumulated contradictions connected with the activity of subjects of social interaction and objectively creating the ground for a real confrontation between these subjects. The conflict situation is not a simple consequence of the arising contradictions and is the following process:

external situation - & gt; situation definition - & gt; conflict situation.

By interpreting the external situation as a conflict, the subject begins to behave according to the rules of conflict interaction, transforming such a situation into a conflict. In this case, two transition characteristics are of fundamental importance:

- factors that make the perception of the situation as conflictual;

- ways of transition to conflict interaction.

The main sign on the basis of which the subject defines the situation as a conflict, considers the perceived incompatibility of one's own goal and the goals of the other party. That is, the conflict is not just a property of the situation, but rather conclusions made on its basis. If the situation is defined as conflict, the evidence supporting this scheme will be selected.

The incompatibility of the parties' goals as the main sign of the perception of the situation as conflicting by many authors is associated with a person's perceived threat. The conflict situation carries a threat to the participant in the interaction and requires the mobilization of the resources at his disposal:

- to achieve the desired goal, if it is a side acting as an active principle;

- to provide the greatest possible protection if it is a passive interaction participant.

Thus, the conflict - is primarily perceived as a threatening contradictory goals of the parties. If the situation is already defined as conflict, a further view of it will be formed taking into account this definition.

Depending on how the external situation itself contributes to the emergence of conflicts and what role the subjective factors play in this, all conflicts can be conditionally arranged in the next continuum. At one of its poles there will be conflicts caused solely by external causes: the situation is objectively so conflict-prone, that the individual characteristics of the subjects are virtually irrelevant, and the situation evokes the same reaction. Theoretically, it can be assumed that all subjects will perceive this situation as conflictual. At the opposite pole, on the contrary, there will be conflict situations caused exclusively by subjective factors: they themselves do not contain any conflict-initiating origin, but are generated by the subjective tendency of people to see conflict in such situations. The closer to the situational pole, the more conflicts are caused by the factors of the situation itself, and the less important are the individual characteristics of the subjects. Conversely, the closer to personal pole, the more important is the "human" factor and less - the objective features of the situation.

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