Chapter 8. METHODS OF RESOLUTION OF CONFLICTS IN THE PROCESS OF SOCIAL WORK
8.1. Conflict resolution in social work: actual problems, discussions and trends
Modern ways of settling conflicts, their constructive resolution are based on the understanding of the conflict as confrontation between the parties that are aware of the opposite of their interests.Conflict in the conflict as a confrontation on the basis of divergence of interests is of fundamental importance in the context of modern methods of non-confrontational and non-violent conflict resolution ensuring that the conflicting parties reach agreement on the basis of taking into account the interests of each of them.
On this basis, the coordination of various goals and interests is achieved, and problem-oriented methods aimed at eliminating the source of conflict and satisfying the needs of the personal and social existence of individuals and social groups are used.
The tasks of social work are to identify a social problem and provide the client with a professional field of social assistance. The nature of the social problem is the most important factor on which the determination of the contents, tools, forms and methods of social work with the client depends.
A social problem is a situation that requires solutions, for which there is no knowledge or means. The problem arises from the realization of insufficient funds to resolve it.
For example, demographic, ecological, technogenic, food, energy and other problems are now becoming global, and their resolution requires the participation of most states.
Social problems can concern the interests of individual or several social systems. For example, social crises that apply to individual countries, ethnic-ethnic communities, associations, blocs or groupings. Problems may concern a particular sphere of life of people or an individual. These can be problems that cover the socio-economic, socio-political, spiritual or social sphere of life.
For social work, personal problems arising in the process of interaction and mutual influence of the individual and social environment acquire special significance. The social environment includes all the factors that motivate or block the protection of the social interests of the individual, the realization of her needs.
One of the most important conditions for solving the social problem is its precise formulation. If the problem is correctly formulated, then, firstly, it can perform the function of a logical means of searching for missing information in the right direction, and secondly, to ensure the selection of the optimal tool for social impact, and, consequently, the effectiveness of social work. One of the most important requirements for the formulation of a social problem is its validity. The problem must stem from real needs and assumptions. The lack of connection with real practical or theoretical needs makes the problem arbitrary, far-fetched.
Precisely formulated problem acts as the initial, initial link in the complex cognitive-analytical activity of social services and organizers of social work.
The practical need and importance of the social problem not only activate the activities of specialists in social services, mobilize their intellectual, organizational and physical potential, but also make creative solutions innovative, innovative.
The solution to any problem is ultimately to resolve an existing internal or external contradiction.
Social contradiction is the interaction of mutually exclusive sides or trends in social life, the interaction of opposites. It is primarily a result of the discrepancy between the interests of people or social groups in their joint life.
The development of contradictions goes through the following stages.
1. The stage of identity. This stage is characterized by the potential possibility of a contradiction of insignificant differences.
2. The stage of significant differences. At this stage, insignificant differences grow into significant ones.
3. Stage of opposites This stage is characterized by the polarization of antagonism in relationships, the development of significant differences in the mutual opposites.
4. Stage of conflict. At this stage, the mutual relations of the parties reach an extreme degree of aggravation and develop into an open confrontation.
As a rule, any person in the process of life enters into conjugal and family relationships, in relationships with parents, relatives, children, friends and comrades, with a team and various associations, public organizations and, finally, with society as a whole.
In the process of these relationships, due to objectively available personal differences in the needs, interests and extent of their implementation, problems can arise.
The personal problem is, in fact, a clash between the claims, the needs of the person and the degree of their satisfaction.
Such a clash may be material or spiritual, physiological or moral, social or psychological, industrial or domestic, and sometimes mixed.
The end of the conflict is the transition from a conflict of opposition to finding a solution to the problem and ending the conflict for any reason. This stage can occur, bypassing the conflict interaction.Quite often one of the subjects or both subjects notice the elements of conflict in the first two stages - conflict resistance and the search for a solution to the problem - and do everything possible to eliminate the objective causes of the conflict.
The main forms of conflict completion - permission and settlement.
The resolution of the conflict is the joint activity of the subject of the conflict, aimed at stopping the opposition and solving the problem that led to the clash. This form of conflict resolution implies the activity of both sides in transforming the conditions in which they interact to eliminate the causes of the conflict.
If the conflict interaction takes the form of moral or physical violence, the following methods can be used to resolve the conflict:
- the disengagement of the warring parties;
- suppression of the conflict by imposing sanctions;
- the urgent identification of the causes of the conflict and the adoption of radical measures to eliminate the contradiction that led to the conflict.
The end of the conflict is possible, firstly, by transforming the most objective conflict situation and, secondly, by changing the images of the situation available to the parties. At the same time, a twofold end to the conflict is possible:
- partial, when only conflict behavior is excluded, but the internal constrained motivation to conflict of subjects is not excluded;
- complete, when the conflict is eliminated both at the level of actual behavior, and at the internal level.
The complete elimination of the conflict through the transformation of an objective conflict situation, we have, for example, when by means of divorce parties they are deprived of the possibility and necessity of contact and, therefore, conflict interaction (for example, the dismissal of one of the subjects). To the same type is the resolution of the conflict, expressed in the struggle of the parties for some limited resources by finding additional resources and full satisfaction of both sides.
Partial resolution of the conflict at the objective level takes place when, by appropriate modification of the real conditions of the environment, the conflict is transformed in such a way that the subjects are not interested in the continuation of the conflict, although the desire to reach the original objective of the parties remains. This type includes, for example, many administrative solutions to the conflict, introducing certain prohibitions and sanctions in the event of their violation.The resolution of the conflict (full or partial) by changing the images available to the parties implies, first of all, the restructuring of existing values, motives, installations, and the adoption of new ones, and therefore it is appropriate to use the entire arsenal of funds developed for this purpose by specialists in the field social work.
Sometimes the number of participants in the conflict includes a mediator - the "third party", which helps to solve the problem of ending the conflict. Participation in the negotiation process of the "third", neutral, individuals positively affects its effectiveness. In domestic practice, to "natural" intermediaries can be classified as people who, due to their positions or professional activities, are periodically forced to use the function of regulating relations between people. First of all, these are leaders, as well as psychologists and social workers engaged in applied activities. Depending on the degree of control of the mediator, several roles of the third party in the conflict. Among them: the arbitrator; arbitrator; the intermediary; assistant; observer.
The arbitrator is the most authoritarian role, as he has the greatest ability to determine the options for solving the problem. The arbitrator examines the problem, listens to both sides and issues a verdict that is not disputed. An example is the resolution of conflicts by the ancient United States princes, the elders of the clans, and also the decision of the jury.
The arbitrator also has considerable authority. He studies the conflict, discusses it with the participants, and then makes a final decision, which is necessary for execution. However, the parties may disagree with the decision of the arbitration and appeal against it in higher instances.
The mediator is a more neutral role. Possessing special knowledge, he provides a constructive discussion of the problem. The final decision remains with the opponents.
The Assistant participates in the settlement of the conflict in order to improve the process of discussing the problem, organizing meetings and negotiations, he does not interfere in the controversy over the content of the problem and making a final decision.
The observer by his presence in the conflict zone keeps the parties from breaking previously reached agreements or from mutual aggression. The presence of an observer creates conditions for resolving disputes through negotiations. The outcome of the conflict depends on the authority, authority and role of the mediator.
Third party can provide:
- volitional termination of the conflict (arbitrator, arbitrator);
- breeding parties (arbitrator, referee);
- blocking the fight (referee, referee, observer);
- the application of sanctions to the parties (arbitrator, referee);
- definition of the right and wrong (arbitrator, arbiter, observer);
- control over the implementation of the agreement (arbitrator, mediator, observer).
The situations that the mediator faces are complex and diverse. Mediators actively interact with the main parties to the conflict, their activities have a direct impact on them. Intervention of the mediator can lead both to the resolution of the conflict, and to its transition to a new phase.
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