Conflict Management

Benita Sumita

in International Relations

ISBN: 9780199743292
Published online March 2011 | | DOI:
Conflict Management

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Any attempt to define conflict management is not an easy feat. It is a dynamic concept with blurry boundaries. In its most simple form, as Dennis Sandole says, conflict management is about ways in which parties try to deal with conflict. The simplistic view of conflict management obscures its processual and power dynamisms. Conflict management is not only about dealing with the conflict; it denotes the management of conflict in violent or competitive and nonviolent or cooperative ways. Today the field is burgeoning with institutions, organizations—private, multilateral—and individual consultants who specialize in managing conflicts. Literature on conflict management covers a wide territory. Means and measures of how to deal with conflict date back to the biblical days. However, moving out of a religious framework, conflict management also has roots spanning from interpersonal skills to organizational measures, and industrial to international relations. This bibliography will focus on conflict management limited to international relations. This introduction would be incomplete if the tension between conflict resolution, conflict transformation, and conflict management is not addressed. There is constant tension and debate about the thin line that separates the three concepts. Peace and conflict studies scholars (Ramsbotham, Woodhouse and Miall, and others) prefer conflict resolution as a more comprehensive, encompassing conflict management. Advocates of conflict resolution criticize conflict management as a top-down interventionist mechanism that seeks to control a conflict more than address its root causes. Conflict resolution indicates a more reconciliatory approach involving the “joint participation of the [conflicting] parties in reaching the outcome” (Laue) by addressing the roots of the conflict. On the other hand, some literature use the terms interchangeably. Meanwhile, conflict transformation is a newer concept in the field that seeks to address the conflict over time as a process (Miall). It is difficult to draw boundaries around each of these concepts. There are areas that might overlap, such as mechanisms used. However, due to limitations of space, the conceptual debate will have to be cut short. This bibliography will primarily focus on the literature on conflict management.

Article.  7772 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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