Conflict is defined as the incompatibility of two or more parties in a relationship’s goals and values, combined with an attempt to control each other and antagonistic feelings toward each other. It is a state of discord caused by an actual or perceived conflict between needs, values, and interests. It exists whenever incompatible activities take place. Incompatible activities are those that prevent, obstruct, or interfere with the occurrence or effectiveness of the second activity.

Incompatibility or differences may exist in reality or be perceived only by the parties involved. Nonetheless, opposing actions and hostile emotions are very real characteristics of people in all types of human relationships and social settings. As a result of the extensive variety

Regardless of potential differences between people, the lack of conflict usually indicates a lack of meaningful interaction2. A conflict can range from a minor disagreement to a full-fledged war. It can start with a single person, two or more people, or two or more groups. Conflict is neither good nor bad in and of itself; however, how conflict is handled determines whether it is constructive or destructive.

A conflict differs from competition and cooperation in that in competitive situations, two or more individuals or parties have mutually incompatible goals. As one party attempts to achieve its goals, the other party attempts to achieve theirs. As a result, competitive situations will inevitably result in conflict. Conflict can also arise.

in a cooperative situation in which two or more individuals or parties have consistent goals because the way one party attempts to achieve its goal may undermine the other individual or party3

Conflict is often triggered by a clash of interests, values, actions, or directions, and conflict is also seen as the existence of the clash. The term ‘conflict’ applies from the moment the clash occurs. Even when it is referred to as a potential conflict, it implies that there is already a conflict of interest, even if a clash has not occurred. As a result, whenever there is interaction, conflict can arise. This situation in the international system is described by Leo Otoide as follows:

When states interact, they compete for power and prestige.

The process, the international system, paints a picture of perpetual conflict, of survival of the fittest, in which states’ attitudes and the course of events are determined by the desire for power and influence. 4

Conflict occurs at various levels. The first type of conflict is interpersonal conflict. Interpersonal conflict occurs when two people in a relationship have incompatible needs, goals, or approaches. 5 Communication breakdown is a common source of interpersonal conflict, and learning communication skills can help prevent and resolve such issues. At the same time, very real differences between people emerge that no amount of improved communication can resolve. Personality conflict refers to irreconcilable differences in motives, values, or styles in dealing with others. For example, if both parties

When both partners in a relationship have a strong desire for power and want to be dominant, there is no way for both to be satisfied, and a power struggle ensues. Common tactics used in interpersonal power struggles include the exaggerated use of reward and punishment, deception and evasion, threats and emotional blackmail, and flattery or integration. Unresolved power struggles frequently resurface and escalate to the point of relationship breakdown and termination. 6

Intergroup conflict is the next level of conflict. It happens between groups of people, such as ethnic or racial groups. It can also be a conflict between departments or decision-making levels within the same organization. Competition for scarce resources between groups is another common source of inter-group conflict.

a country, or between a union and the management of the same organization. 7 One feature of intergroup conflict is that members of one group tend to develop stereotypes and beliefs about the opposing group. They also tend to blame them for their problems and, finally, discriminate against them. 8 When group identities are threatened, this classic symptom of intergroup conflict becomes especially tense and prone to escalation and intractability. 9

Multi-party conflict is another type of conflict. It occurs in society when different interest groups and organizations prioritize different aspects of resource management and control, as well as policy development. These complex conflicts frequently involve a mix of economic, value, and power sources. This complication is frequently beyond the scope of traditional authoritative or adversarial procedures, and

For a solution, collaborative approaches to reaching consensus are required. 10

Supranational conflicts are the final level of conflict. These are conflicts in which states are involved or one of the parties is a state. Supranational conflicts are classified into three types: those involving maritime boundaries, those involving land, and those involving investors, also known as investment treaty disputes.

It is important to remember that supranational conflict, unlike other types of conflict, is likely to arise as a result of a treaty. A maritime delimitation dispute, for example, may be governed by the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS III), or an investor-state dispute may be governed by the international settlement of investment disputes convention. The court will also use international law.

conventions, international customs, and general legal principles recognized by the nations or parties involved11

There are various approaches to dealing with the incompatibilities that exist between the parties, regardless of the level of conflict. When conflicts are handled creatively, solutions that are mutually acceptable to both parties are possible. It could imply a different distribution of resources or forms of influence than before. When the parties are interdependent, that is, when each has some degree of independence or autonomy from which to influence the other, rather than when one party is primarily dependent on the other, creative outcomes are more likely. 12 Given their interdependence, three general strategies for dealing with their conflict have been identified. These include win-lose, lose-lose, and tie-break.


The win-lose strategy is a strategy that forces the opposing party to capitulate. This is sometimes accomplished through socially acceptable mechanisms such as a majority vote, the authority of a leader, or the decision of a judge. It may involve secret strategies, threats, or innuendo – whatever works is acceptable under the Mechanuallian principle of the end justifying the means. The desired outcome is to have a superior victor and defeated opponents who withdraw in shame. 13

Smoothing over conflict or reaching the simplest of compromises are examples of the lose-lose strategy. The creative potential of productive resolution is not realized or explored in either case. This is based on the idea that disagreement is unavoidable and that it is therefore preferable to divide and conquer.

Smooth over problems as painlessly as possible. Each party gets something they want.

The win-win approach is a deliberate and systematic attempt to maximize both parties’ goals through collaborative problem solving. Instead of a war to be won, the conflict is viewed as a problem to be solved. This method focuses on one problem from both parties’ perspectives, as well as the needs and constraints of both parties, rather than making short-term accommodations. Communication is more open and direct than selective and calculated. Attitudes and behaviors are geared toward greater trust and acceptance rather than an increase in suspicion and hostility. 14

There are two types of conflict resolution methods: authoritative and alternative.

The first is

The use of power is an approach under the authoritative methods of conflict resolution. The stronger side uses force to advance its interests, regardless of the interests of the other parties. Another example of the use of power in conflict resolution. In this case, some issues are won by one side while others are won by another; both parties make no agreement but push their interests through forcefully regardless of each other’s interests. 15

Another strategy under the authoritative methods of conflict resolution is the decision made by authority. In this system, an authority intervenes in a conflict and makes a decision based on his assessment of what is best for the disputing parties. 16 In many cases, such a solution also serves to satisfy the interest.

of that power. This is not the same as arbitrage. The arbiter’s role is to act as an independent third party who listens to both opposing parties, finds legally correct solutions based on valid legislation, and then communicates such decisions to the disputants. 17 The decision of a court is the final authoritative method of conflict resolution. A judge or jury decides on a resolution to a conflict based on evidence provided by attorneys representing both opposing sides of the issue. The judge or jury will then interpret the law and use it as the basis for their decision, which both parties must follow. The jury can be made up of laymen or professional judges.

First, one of the alternative conflict resolution methods is facilitation.18 A facilitator acts as an impartial third party person in this process, assisting two conflicting parties in directing their discussion in order to reach an agreement satisfactory to both sides according to previously agreed-upon rules. The Latin word facilatare means to make things easier. As a result, a facilitator’s role is to provide both sides with methods and guidelines for discussion that will facilitate their communication. The mediator in mediation is a third party who acts as a facilitator to establish or restore communication between feuding parties. The mediator strives to bring the parties face to face to negotiate, and this is a critical goal of his endeavor. To accomplish this, the mediator must have good influence, credibility, and standing with the parties. Most importantly, he

Must be skilled in diplomacy. 19

Conciliation is another method of conflict resolution that is similar to mediation with the legal distinction that the third party is a commission or an international body whose assistance has been sought in finding a solution satisfactory to the disputants.

Arbitration goes beyond a fact-finding mission in that it involves a practical examination of the issues involved in a crisis, and the decision is binding on the parties. Often, a tribunal is formed to investigate the issues and make recommendations to a higher authority. 20

Adjudication, also known as judicial settlement, is the process of submitting a dispute to an international covert for resolution. Unlike arbitration, the covert is not subject to preliminary litigations based on its procedures or evidence. Except as stated in the statute by which it was created, no other considerations or legal principles are to be applied.2

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