Go ahead jot it down and, if so moved, comment below with your first thought…And a second thought too while you’re at it.

When I asked a friend this question this morning, they said “aggression.” The conversation that flowed from there opened up my perspective on what conflict meant for them.

In the 90’s, Costantino and Merchant posed this definition in the organizational and system context in their book, Designing Conflict Management Systems: A Guide to Creating Productive and Healthy Organizations:

“Conflict is an expression of dissatisfaction or disagreement with an interaction, process, product, or service.”

Maybe you said “dissatisfaction” or “disagreement” and maybe you said something different like my friend. That’s aok. It’s where you are at this very moment.

Perhaps this is where you and your organization start clarifying your cultural definition of conflict to better engage in managing and resolving the inevitable “dissatisfactions” and “disagreements” of being human?

When I say conflict, what do you think now?

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Written by: Mike Rozinsky, Founder and Principal RZNSKY LLC and Ombuds at Brandeis University

Part I in a series defining, identifying sources and symptoms of, and understanding responses to organizational and system conflict.

Originally published on December 17, 2019 on LinkedIn