Conflict management, unlike conflict resolution tends to anticipate a conflict, using a variety of techniques ranging from litigation to alternative dispute resolution. This Tool defines and introduces the core principles of conflict management, details two key frameworks for analysing a conflict (the Circle of Conflict and the Onion Model), and describes the main conflict management approaches.
Conflict management stands within the continuum of methods aimed at handling disputes. Conflict management, unlike resolution, involves the control of a long-term contention where resolution seems to be impossible but sought for. The goal is thus to make an ongoing conflict more beneficial and less damaging to the parties involved (Spangler, 2003). Managing a conflict may also involve a prevention aspect or stage, whereas resolving the conflict mainly focuses on addressing the issues after their occurrence (CAP-NET, 2014). Conflict transformation, in its turn, implies change in the parties’ relationship built upon improving mutual understanding (Botes, 2003).