Cooperation, Compromise and Competition
According to experts in the field of conflict resolution, the interaction strategies chosen by the participants in the conflict situation become the decisive factor for its constructive overcoming.
The behavior strategies of participants in the interpersonal conflict situation fall into three main categories.
Cooperation is a cooperative strategy of the opponent's behavior in the conflict, which consists in the orientation toward joint search for a solution that satisfies the interests of all parties. In this strategy, the most preferable of all, each side of the conflict unites its efforts to develop the most optimal solution. This strategy is most often used in cases where:
- the interests of the common cause are much more important than the personal ambitions of the participants in the conflict;
- there is great respect for the opinions of opponents on both sides and a certain history of friendly relations between them.
The first group of strategies is regarded as the most effective way to resolve interpersonal conflicts. It unites a variety of negotiating strategies leading to the development of solutions more or less satisfying the interests of both sides.
The power strategies include the strategies of the participants in the conflict, aimed at achieving their own interests without taking into account the interests of the partner. Psychologically, they are described in terms of dominance, competition, rivalry.
Competition - strategy of the opponent's behavior in the conflict, consisting in the orientation to his interests, imposing on the other party the preferred solution, open struggle to realize their interests. In this strategy, the partner distances himself, there is no close interaction with him. The subject acts authoritatively, absolutely sure of his rightness, suppressing the interests of the other party.
The partner in this case feels loser, and this can become a source of future conflict situations, conditioned by the struggle of the partner for their rights. At the same time, the orientation toward one's own goals can be realized in tough behavior - assertiveness, the use of hard arguments, the setting of ultimatum requirements, emotional pressure on a partner, etc.
However, the subject of the conflict can resort to "soft", manipulative forms of influence on the partner. These are cases when the subject conceals his true intentions; At the same time, with the help of false distracting maneuvers, he achieves that the partner, without realizing it, changes his original goals.
With an external difference in specific behavior, these strategies are distinguished by an exclusive orientation toward achieving their own goals and ignoring the interests of the partner. Their use means the desire to win their point of view, their goal is to assert one's own position, to realize one's own interest, i.e. own victory.
The third group of strategies for interaction in conflict is formed by forms of behavior that imply a desire to avoid conflict on the basis of compromise.
Compromise - the strategy of the subject's behavior in the conflict, focused on certain concessions in exchange for partial concessions on the part of the opponent. This strategy includes the elements of the behavior (style) of all the other four strategies and is used in situations where the compelling need to make certain concessions is compensated by the preservation of more or less positive relationships in the hope that over time other possibilities for conflict resolution will appear .
It should be noted that each of these styles is effective only in certain situations and none of them can be distinguished as the best. Too rigid adherence to one of the styles limits the possibilities of reaching mutual agreements and restoring the balance of power.
Each of the above conflict resolution styles can be considered in the dilemma of "win-lose" in its various variants.
The style of cooperation assumes the tactics of "win - win," in which both sides find an acceptable solution. It must be remembered that life is not a sporting contest in which the presence of a winner means having more losers. When both sides win, this means strengthening and improving the relationship. Winning parties will be inclined to support the decision and to comply with the agreement.
The style of competition and competition assumes a "win-lose" tactic, in which one side emerges as an undoubted winner. Often this tactic is adhered to by specialists who are striving to feel right at all costs, in order to protect themselves from experiencing feelings of inferiority and the pain that defeat bears in them. But the loser today can refuse to cooperate tomorrow. This is one of the ways, which, in particular, leads to the alienation of children from their parents.
The style of compromise means tactics no loss - no winnings ", in which both sides make concessions to each other. When reaching an agreement on the basis of compromise, there is no complete satisfaction, but there is also no dissatisfaction of each of the parties, which, at least, allows us to hope for continued contacts in the future and achievement of more impressive results.
Relationships in social work can be seen as emotional links between the social worker and clients or systems operating in the prevailing atmosphere of cooperation, or compromise or competition. It can be done by analyzing the distinction between these three types of relations and the factors of their development. Although in practice in all types of relations there are signs of all three types, in each individual case either cooperation, or compromise, or competition in the situation concerning the goals of the process of change and the methods of achieving it prevails.
Relationships of cooperation with clients are facilitated by the value orientations of the social worker, who emphasize independence and democracy in decision-making. People are more willing to accept efforts to achieve change, and even, if necessary, take risks if they sanctioned these efforts, helped determine the goals of change; and if they feel the confidence in the social worker, they themselves achieve change.
Relationships of cooperation with clients, who have and still do not have problems of interpersonal communication, are usually considered in terms of creating a conducive environment for the changes in an acceptable atmosphere in the process of communicating with clients. This atmosphere enhances the sense of trust, honesty and nobility in the relationship between clients and social workers.
If a social worker is perceived as a person who is interested in achieving the same goals as the other party, and shows the desire to cooperate, cooperation becomes possible.
First. The cultural norms and values worked out by the society presuppose readiness for cooperation and the desire to overcome contradictions. This value orientation helps the social worker to persuade many to participate in solving one problem that affects the interests of all in one way or another, even if they do not completely trust each other and pursue the same goals.
For example, a social worker can eventually obtain consent for negotiations between the representatives of the social security department, the social protection department of the population, the police department, the health department, the house administration for the protection of order on the territory of the microdistrict.
Second. At the stage of concluding agreements, it becomes possible to find out the hidden reserves that provide the necessary changes.
For example, a patient with tuberculosis can agree to treatment, cooperation with social workers and to participate in a health program in exchange for improving his living conditions.
Third. Differences in the status and authority of contracting systems can make it difficult to reach an agreement. It can be facilitated by redistribution on a certain time of power between these systems.
Fourth. Parties with unequal power and position in the community may enter into agreements on the basis of law.
For example, on the basis of an agreement, agreements are concluded between the probation officer and the accused, who are released from custody on parole. Both are in a cooperative relationship. Public aid groups, led by a social worker, trying to negotiate with local institutions and organizations, often experience great difficulties due to the lack of sufficient power authority not provided for by the status.
Ignoring the tactics of cooperation in solving acute problems leads to the generalization of the conflict. The generalization of the conflict is the transition from a superficial conflict to a deeper contradiction, an increase in the range of different points of the collision, which is accompanied by an expansion of the conflict's borders.
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