Interpersonal Conflict in Southpaw
Conflict is an inevitable aspect in human life. In the contemporary society, conflicts are bound to arise in the organizational setting as well as in the social setting. Conflicts occur between friends as well as between acquaintances and those unknown to one. In the movie ‘Southpaw’, conflicts are observed in different scenes across the entire movie duration. One such scene occurs between 8 minutes and 13 minutes in the movie. The scene begins with Hope’s fight in the boxing ring and progresses to the celebration of victory. It is during the press conference following the celebration that the conflict occurs. After responding to the questions from the media, Hope is verbally attacked by Escobar. Escobar claims that the only reason why Hope has remained unbeaten for long is because he is yet to fight a real man and he should therefore give Escobar a chance to meet him in the boxing ring. Escobar does this using an abusive and demeaning tone. Although Hope longs to respond to this, he is calmed down by his wife and later by his manager and they leave the premises.
The conflict that occurs in the scene presents all major characteristics associated with conflicts. In the work done by Bao and others (542), a conflict is described as a condition in which two or more individuals are in a disagreement about a particular issue. Conflicts can be viewed as a means for resolving disagreements; such as what Escobar intends to do in the movie scene. Similarly, the conflict is depicted as a passive aggression, where Hope is not aware of who Escobar is yet is attacked by Escobar. In spite of the conditions surrounding the conflict, there could have been better ways of managing the conflict.
In the movie, the conflict is left unsolved by both parties probably due to the need to protect Hope’s image. Although Hope desires to get back to the aggressor and even tries to make the manager arrange a fight, this does not happen as he is convinced to let the issue go. This makes him leave without being satisfied with the solution as he feels his manager has a negative perception of him. At the same time, the aggressor, Escobar goes unsatisfied as his wish to fight Hope is not fulfilled. The lose- lose situation results in more aggression during future interactions until a solution is found. In this situation, Hope applies the neglect approach through minimization of tension and anger. The early stages of the conflict are characterized by misunderstandings, negative emotions and confirmation failure. The conflict progresses to excessive miscommunications where none of the parties attempts to come to a productive solution through communication.
The two could have resolved their conflict in a more productive manner. The first stage in productive conflict resolution is respectful treatment of others (Rahim 118). In the movie, the treatment accorded to Hope in the first place was full of disrespect. As such, any attempt to resolve the conflict should have started with demand for respect. This would then be followed by tone setting to enable communication to occur, listening to the other actively and developing the right perspectives. Consideration of these factors indicates that had Escobar taken the right approach from the beginning, this conflict could have been prevented. It would have been suitable for Escobar to approach Hope’s manager and propose a fight. Hope would then agree or reject the proposal due to the conditions of the fight. The conflict should have also been solved as soon as it started to avoid more negative outcomes observed later in the movie. On the other hand, Hope could have managed the conflict by reacting to the excessive abuses by Escobar through either neglect or requesting for a moderator to help in conflict resolution.
Bao, Yingshan, Zhu, fangwei, Hu, Yue and Cui, Ning. The research of interpersonal conflict and solution strategies. Psychology, vol. 7, pp. 541- 545.
Rahim, Afzalur M. Managing conflicts in organizations. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2010.