Sample Essays on Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution

George Kohlrieser, a professor of leadership and organization at IMD, quotes a survey by the American management association that managers spend at least 24% of their time managing conflict (Hoffman, 2006). It is evident that for high performing organizations, there must be disputes, disagreement, and diverse perspectives in implementation and strategizing. Sometime, conflict may arise from an individual’s temperament, breakage of bonding, being overwhelmed by work, or general disagreement. Huan and Rashad (2012) state that conflict may not only happen in weighty matters but also in something petty, such as poor communication process. Lesser et al., (2003) agree that various multi-agent systems are forced to embrace fast conflict resolution methods during hard and soft time constraints. Conflict happens in day-to-day events from a personal level to international level where two or more countries may differ in ideologies resulting in a disagreement. Therefore, it is important to understand what conflict is, what causes conflict, and how to resolve it. Before even identifying the various ways that are probable for resolving conflicts, it is important to find out the main types of conflict in an organization and their sources.

Types and Sources of Conflict

According to Kelman (2009), there are two identifiable types of conflict in organization; they include task and relationship conflict. Task conflict as the name suggests arises from how members of staff handle their day-to-day activities in the work place. It concentrates on how to resolve issues that arise due to disagreement in viewpoints, ideas, and opinions (Huan & Rashad, 2012). In most cases, this type of conflict is associated with positive results because it triggers creativity, innovation, and divergence in school of thought. Task conflict avoids relying on one person in making decision but fosters group thinking.

Relationship conflict, on the other hand, embeds on individuals’ personality and character relies on how one person relates with the other, and how they handle their personality at the work place (Lipsky & Avgar, 2010). This type of conflict may be as a result of values, family norms, or an individual taste. Relationship conflict is mostly associated with negative results and impacts to the organization. It results in low productivity, lack of teamwork, low motivation, and hurried decisions.

Hoffman (2006) states that people create conflict as a result of breaking the human bonding cycle that yields frustration, pain or loss. In organizations, pain can be inflicted when there is a missed promotion, poor performance review, or ending a successful project. Kelman (2009) believes that participants in conflict can be influenced by getting worried about what happens as a result of the conflict. As a result, the participant may resolve not to engage in the conflict. However, they will be left troubled and they may exhibit low motivation and poor productivity, which may create another conflict with the supervisors. Therefore, both task and relationship conflicts may arise in an organization and have their impacts to the organization.

Conflict Resolution

Roy, Burdick, and Kriesberg (2012) believe that the field of conflict resolution (CR) has evolved ever since the mid-1950s. They argue that it took time before managers considered it paramount in the organizations, until 1980s. This was influenced by the introduction of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which was an alternative way of settling disagreements other than the formal court system (Lipsky & Avgar, 2010). By this time, the world was at the verge of healing and reconciling after the success of heinous world wars. Various ways were identified for peace building and cultivating rapport among countries and people from different settings across the board.  Due to the success of mediation and peace building among countries, scholars found out that it was reverence way that could be used in organizations to curb and solve existing conflicts. One of the most significant things is that most of the conflict resolvers must remain non-partisan; they should not show any special interest to one party (Roy, Burdick, & Kriesberg, 2012). They should remain impartially attentive to the concerns and interests of the participants.

International conflict resolution has both similarities and differences with resolving conflict in the organization. In both cases, conflict can be avoided, talked about, negotiated, arbitrated or mediated, and resolved by legislation, political action, or violent force (Kelman, 2009). In the business world, stakeholders have paid a special attention to the significance of listening and communication in general in variety of contexts (Hoffman, 2006). Listening workshops for workers and managers, training how to express oneself in particular events and contexts, and appreciating every person’s opinion is among the approaches that business world has indulged into to enhance listening in theorganization. These lessons have been dedicated towards improving the relationship internally and externally in the work organization. Most of the managers have invented ways of raising the voice of the marginalized in the organization and they have an equal voice with the others. Listening has been recognized as a way of enhancing equality and giving opportunities across board. Lipsky and Avgar (2010) acknowledge listening as an important method of conflict resolution since organizations have advanced tremendously in offering an ear to every person. The human personnel offices have been introduced to ensure that laborers have an avenue of airing out their issues. In case of confidentiality, suggestion boxes, private emails, and hotlines are installed in the office to make sure people air out their issues. Organizations have understood the value of listening as a way of resolving impending conflicts or prevent conflicts from occurring.

Similarly, listening has been used to solve international conflict among countries and regions. Almost all countries have ambassadors and high commission offices representing other countries. These offices act as an avenue that the host country can air its problem concerning the other country without engaging conflict or disagreement. Interstate or intergovernmental phenomenon incorporates listening similarly to the organization as a mode of conflict resolution.Lipsky and Avgar (2010) say that when there is a problem both countries constitute a team that listens to the grievances. The primary goal is establishing an interaction between the two states where solutions will come after listening to each other. Therefore, listening to each other is a strong method of creating favorable way of solving conflicts.

Mediation is another method of conflict resolution that is used in both international and organizational conflicts. When parties fail to listen to each other in a negotiation table, the most appropriate way is usually bringing a mediator on board. A third party is very important in solving a conflict especially in its initial stage. According to Roy, Burdick, and Kriesberg (2012), there are three types of mediators; social network, authoritative, and independent mediators. The social network mediators are mainly concerned in finding long-term social relations (Kelman, 2009). This may be either in the work environment or between states. They work towards maintain a lasting relationship between the conflicting parties. Usually, social network mediators are incorporated after negotiations to draft fair terms between the conflicting parties. The second group includes the authoritative mediators who have power over the conflicting parties (Hoffman, 2006). In an organization they may include managers or directors of the firm. They use the power feted in them to enforce agreements between parties. Lastly, independent mediators are defined as neutral or impartial in solving conflict. They are usually outsourced and do not elicit any prior relationship with the conflicting parties. Mediators ought to be chosen in a fair manner to ensure there is integrity and fair judgment (Lipsky&Avgar, 2010). Mediation has been recognized as an important way of bring together people, groups, organization, and even governments that had disagreements. It is also important in ensuring there is a lasting solution that averts similar occurrences in future.

Kelman (2009) believes that intolerance of the differences may result to conflict escalation. This may be after negotiating, mediating, and even embracing a political action that involves diplomatic understanding and the parties are still not willing to come into a conclusion. This most applies in interstate where they differ in ideologies and each party is rigid into giving into the other party’s demands (Huan&Rashad, 2012). In such a scenario, violence is sometimes inevitable; especially when the conflict can harm innocent civilians. An act of war or military action is declared into the rebellious state in order to force an agreement (Hoffman, 2006). This method is quite unfortunate as it brings on casualties and lives of innocent people are under a threat. This may also include humanitarian policies where countries that are not directly involved in the war provide relief to the affected parties to protect the plight of the citizens. Therefore, conflict resolution methods are inevitable in both organizations and intergovernmental phenomena.


Hoffman, G. K. (2006). “Lesson Plans for a Course in Compassionate Listening.” In D. Rivers (Ed.), Compassionate Listening: An Exploratory Sourcebook About Conflict Transformation (pp. 15-22)

Huan. J.M &Rashad, Y. ((2012). The Difference of Conflict Management Styles and Conflict Resolution in Workplace. Business & Entrepreneurship Journal, vol.1, no.1, 2012, 141-155.

Green, L. (2007). “Compassionate Listening with Israelis and Palestinians.” In J. Kuriansky (Ed.), Beyond Bullets and Bombs: Grassroots Peace Building between Israelis and Palestinians (pp. 105-109)

Kelman, H. C. (2009). “A Social-Psychological Approach to Conflict Analysis and Resolution.” In D. Sandole, S.Byrne, I. Sandole-Staroste, & J. Senehi (Eds.), Handbook of Conflict Analysis and Resolution. New York: Routledge.

Lipsky, D. B. &Avgar, A. C. (2010).The conflict over conflict management [Electronic version].Dispute Resolution Journal, 65(2-3), 38-43

Roy, B., Burdick, J. &Kriesberg, L.  (2012). A Conversation between Conflict Resolution and Social Movement Scholars. CONFLlCfREsOLUTION QUARTERLY, 27(4), 347-367

Immigration Policy Reform as a Conflict


Immigration is the process in which a country absorbs non-residents in the country for various reasons. The immigration policy refers to the strategy in which a country tackles the issue of people transiting across its borders (Kong, 2010). United States of America has over the years implemented a number of changes in the policies guiding immigration in the country. This changes that are introduced to the immigration policies are known as immigration reforms. The U.S. immigration policy encompasses a range of aspects from asylum, refugee policy, unauthorized immigration, and distribution of legalized visas. Each country avails resources in accordance to the citizens dwelling in it; hence, the population is sometimes controlled in order to ensure equitable share of resources among the people. As a matter of fact, a country can only accommodate a number of people for a specified period and the immigration policy ensures that the country maintains a balance between population and the resources and there is protection of immigrants in the country.

Globalization has brought immense integration among people from various corners of the world who visit for varied reasons. Some may be tourists; others visit their family members, seeking education or employment opportunities, adventure while others are interested in illegalized business.In the democratic world, nations and governments champion for integration and cohesion. This means people are free to go to other countries to learn, look for opportunities among other reasons. However, some countries may be rigid or unwilling to allow immense inflow of people due to their own reasons. The immigration policy has become a subject of national outcry in the United States of America with an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants as well as legal immigrant’s fate lying on this policy (Nielsen, 2009). Some people support the immigration policy while others vehemently denounce it creating a conflict. Therefore, this study delves deeper into the issue of immigration policy in the U.S.A and seeks to come up with a solution to the quagmire it has caused in the country.

History of immigration policy

In 1920s, USA had a policy, the immigration and Nationality Act, that banished people from specified areas such as Eastern Europe and Jews from the Russian community terming them as inassimilable.” This status was prompted by the impending world war where countries had to take extra caution in admitting people into their land.  The immigration and Nationality Act was later amended in 1965 allowing more visitors, especially from the Latin America and Asia, in U.S.A. this is the year where numerical restrictions were introduced where the number of residence visas was maintained at 20, 000 per year for a single country (Massey & Pren, 2012). Most of the immigrants were brought to the country to offer labor in the U.S farms in which some were slaves or not even recognized by the government. They were treated as “lesser beings” compared to the Native Americans.

Most scholars quote the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 which banned Americans from hiring illegal immigrants. Previously, at least 12 million immigrants worked in U.S.A without documentation translating to 5% of the country’s workforce ((Nielsen, 2009). Legal immigration from the Latin America increased from a total of around 459,000 accounted for in 1950s to approximately 4.2 million in late 1990s, contributing to 44 percent of the entire flow, compared with 29 percent for Asia, 14 percent for Europe, 6 percent for Africa, and 7 percent for the rest of the world (US Department of Homeland Security 2012). This illustrates how immigration rose with an upward trend triggering reforms in the immigration policy. The policy was meant to protect and recognize legal immigration enhancing family reunification, incorporating newcomers in the land and outsourcing labor. Some of the amendments included the Refugee Resettlement Program, introduced in 1980 as a Refugee Act that availed funds for income support, health services, job training, and social services. Funding for this program fell from $7,400 per refugee to $2,100 (in inflation-adjusted dollars) between fiscal years 1984 and 1994; conversely, the number of refugees was increasing(Massey&Pren, 2012)..

Conflict in the immigration policy reforms

In 2001, the Mexican president, Vincente Fox and American president George Bush had drafted bills that could allow Mexican move in easily to U.S.A. the September 11, 2001 attacks put on hold these talks; hence, in 2006 the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 was introduced (Kong, 2010). The main aim was to strengthen border actions and regulate the number of visitors in order to maintain security in the country. Obama’s administration revived this hot topic in 2009 where the president felt the importance of fixing the porosity in the borders, preventing visa delays and people working without work permits, and introducing programs that could make immigrants comfy in America (Massey&Pren, 2012). The immigration reform policy centered mainly on three perspectives;

  1. Immigration Innovation Act: this bill was brought to the floor of the house in 2015 that sort to increase the number of visas for temporary high-skilled workers
  2. Start-Up ActA this bill also was brought on the floor of the congress on January 2015 which sort to expound on opportunities for entrepreneurs. This could be achieved via availing Visas for immigrants and STEM visa for US educated workers to advance their skills in the country
  3. Secure Our Borders First Act: this bill intends to take action on immigration official who do not intercept illegal immigration. It gives room for the Border Patrol to act promptly by providing funds for the National Guard ensure the border is secure, and introduce use of surveillance drones along the border


In 2014 alone, the state issued half million immigrant visas with around 4.4 million applications recorded. Kong (2010) argues thatsome industry such as technological oriented industries welcome this move asserting that most of their companies rely on foreign talent. Other people feel that this move is uncalled for as the increased number of people only leads to depletion of resources in the U.S.A and even increase the threat of terrorism. Others refuted the bill on the grounds that the president did not have any legal authority to enhance the bill which constraints the country’s finances. Each state has the freedom to enact their own immigration policies that are aligned to the federal policies (Nielsen, 2009). California in 2013 hit the headlines for introducing the friendliest policies to the immigrants. Some people concur with the move while others lambast it strongly creating a conflict on whether to enact these reforms or to do away with them.


Current Issues Facing Immigration Policy

The 21st century has been met with numerous changes that bring distinct perceptions in immigration policies. These changes include:


In spite of the mounting social political pressure to tighten porosity across borders due to insecurity, globalization has increasingly made them permeable. The advent of trade across the globe makes it possible for people to integrate freely without much complexity (Nielsen, 2009). Similarly, communication systems have improved allowing assimilation in various parts of the world. Actually, social, psychological and economic relationships and structure rely mostly on globalization. Immigration is currently not viewed as a national issue but a transnational phenomenon which is becoming difficult to control (Massey&Pren, 2012). The social and economic forces that enhance transition of communities from one place to the other are so powerful that strategies for closing them are likely to fail. For instance, education is a basic thing that every person has a right to attain. Some training programs are only found in specific countries; hence, people cannot be limited to attain their basic right of education. Trade is also another good example where each country produces a specific item that is required in another country. The exchange of these commodities leads to immigration.

Illegal immigration

Unauthorized immigration is on the rampant in the America soil creating an outrage among residents. Smuggling networks, forged documents, rampant fraud, and unscrupulous employers are on the rise due to illegal immigration. The presence of legal immigrants is alleged to have eased the smuggling networks for immigrants. Analysts are on the view that national security is jeopardized by the rise of illegal immigration by a porous border that allows criminal in. the issue of illegal immigration has proved to be a thorn in the flesh as the undocumented entrants pose varied threats to the country(Massey&Pren, 2012).. Most of the people against the immigration bill use this argument citing lack of proper measures to control illegal immigration. They also argue that the bill seeking to award work permits and legal documents to the immigrants in U.S may lead to legalizing criminal who were smuggled into the country (Kong, 2010). The main question that arises is how policy makers react to the dilemma of illegal immigration. The immigrant justice network recorded the highest number of deportation in 2007 with over 280,000 immigrants being sent back to their countries (“Pew Hispanic Center” 2007, December). The main reason was being in the country illegally and committing crimes in the American soil. This raises a concern over illegal immigration which puts a halt on the decision regarding immigration reforms.


It is with no doubt that terrorism has become a global scourge and concern with nations applying varied measures to curb it. As mentioned earlier, the deal between president Fox and Bush was cut short due to an attack on the American soil. Similarly, the bombings in Boston played a major role in the drafting and passing of the immigration policy among others. Terrorism has largely been connected with porosity in the borders and admission of visitors to the country (Nielsen, 2009). Although the connection between these two phenomena is not well rooted, there is likelihood that immigration plays a role in the rising terror attacks around the globe (Nielsen, 2009). This has risked the multi-national relationship with others crying foul that their countries have been identified as terror prone accusing others of orchestrating. Such allegations are paramount in framing the immigration policy reforms.

The impacts of immigration reforms

Improved economy

According to the North American Integration and Development Center, there is a connection between allowing immigration and fostering the economy. After only three years of legalizing undocumented immigrants, additional net tax revenue shifted from $4.5 to $5.4 billion annually. More so, this allows employment opportunities for over 800, 000 people in the country. The higher the number of residents translates to a higher consumption which earns profits improving the economy (Massey & Pren, 2012). It also contributes to high productivity due to the availability of skilled labor in the country.

Broken families

The immigration system regulates persons entering or exiting the country as ordered by the government. It determines the period in which a person can stay in the United States and issuance of either permanent or temporal visas.  This method of determining entrance and exit does not necessary follow a certain technique hence; it might be unfair to some people. As a result, it inhibits family reunification. It was estimated that around 5,100 children were under the welfare system in 2011 as their parents were deported. Therefore, the immigration policy may result to broken families and limit reunification.

Immigration court reform

Due to the witnessed high number of immigration cases, it was decided that a court should be identified and be given full mandate to handle immigration cases. Advocacy and activists groups have steered fairness and efficiency in how the immigration cases are handled. Identifying immigration court and imposing reforms is seen as a step towards fair immigration case hearings. There claims that immigration judges are few as compared to the cases and this results to unheard case and unfair judgments(Massey & Pren, 2012).. The immigration reforms calls for an increase to the members of the bench in order to enhance efficiency in these courts.

High costs

The immigration reforms have been in place since the late 20th century involving numerous activities that call for resources. The U.S border control asserts that the annual budget has faced an upward trend hitting a 714 percent increase mark. In 1992, it was estimated that the budget was around $362 million and rose up to 2.7 billion dollars in 2009. The U.S Immigration and Customs enforcement has attained a 73% increase from %3.3 billion to %5.9 billion (Massey & Pren, 2012).

Children immigration

In most cases, the mature people are expected to be the ones involved in the issues of immigration. However, the U.S.A has seen thousands of children from the Central America either alone or with their mothers enter the country. It becomes quite challenging for the government as incarcerating children for immigration is inhumane and the burden is left with the government (Kong, 2010). Analysts observe that this trend is encouraged by the “smooth” immigration laws in the land.

Immigration modernization act

The immigration reforms have introduced a new way of tracking visas electronically and contingent border security such as drone surveillance (Nielsen, 2009). The system enables the reduction of backlog in awarding visas and proper scrutiny before documentation. There is an expanded employee and business personnel verification through the modernized systems. This aims at fast-tracking aliens and reducing the probability of allowing criminals into the country.


Immigration reforms touch on very sensitive matters that every American president has tried to solve without finding a lasting solution. The conflict arising from this issue is quite hefty and can only be resolved through negotiation. A country cannot banish people from visiting even though there are negative concerns with immigration. The best way is to tighten surveillance and uphold immigration measures to ensure that the people admitted in U.S.A are clean


Kong, L. J. (2010). Immigration, racial profiling, and white privilege: Community-based challenges and practices for adult educators. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 125, 65-77.

Loya, M. (2011). Color-blind racial attitudes in white social workers: A cross-sectional study. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 81, 201-217

Massey, D. S., &Pren, K. A. (2012). Unintended Consequences of US Immigration Policy: Explaining the Post-1965 Surge from Latin America. Population and Development Review38(1), 1–29.

Nielsen, J. (2009). Locking down our borders: How anti-immigration sentiment led to unconstitutional legislation and the erosion of fundamental principles of American government.Journal of Law and Policy, 18(1), 459-502.

Pew Hispanic Center. (2007, December). 2007 National Survey of Latinos: As illegal immigration issue heats up, Hispanics feel a chill. Washington, DC