Turkish strategies and theories on decision making

Turkish National
Police Academy

Institute of Security Sciences

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M. A. in International Security

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict
Management and Resolution: An Introduction

by Ho-Won Jeong

Term Paper

 

 

 

 

Theories of Security

Submitted by Emine Y?ld?r?m

Submitted to Prof. Dr. Bayram Ali Soner

 

 

 

 

 

January 2018, Ankara

Introduction

This book is basically trying to explain how to deal
with a conflict which has an international dimension. In general, the book is
consist of a framework based on theoretical approaches. However, it also refers
some specific cases of international conflicts which effected the international
system so far. The book is constitutively consist of three main parts. These
three main parts have been divided into several subheadings.

In the first main chapter of the book, which named
as “The Anatomy of Conflict Resolution and Management”, the writer primarily
starts with the objectives of the book. Afterwards, various dimensions of
conflict is being approached in this chapter. In addition to this, the
differences between conflict settlement and resolution are examined in this
chapter as well. There are structural approaches to conflict resolution and
methods for dealing with a conflict which are another subjects examining in the
first chapter. In this chapter, the phases of a conflict and the approaches to
conflict prevention are explained. Also, some topics as conflict management
strategies and theories on decision making are clarified. Last of all, conflict
transformation is examined with many aspects in a very detailed way in the
first main chapter of the book.

In the second main chapter of the book, which named
as “Dimensions of Conflict Management”, there are three subheadings named as
“Identity”, “Power” and “Structure”. Under the title of Identity, there are
several topics like identity and conflict mobilization, properties and
attributes of identity, group processes of identity formation, social
categorization, cognitive representation of identity, bridging in-group and
out-group differences, de-categorization and re-categorization, renegotiation
of identities, management of identity differences: institutional arrangements. On
the other hand, there are several topics as the context of a power relationship,
power relations in conflict process and outcome, contingencies in the exercise
of power, sources of power, quest for power and anarchy, power symmetry, ethnic
rivalry, power transition, rank discrepancy, the impact of asymmetry on
behavior and rebalancing power asymmetry, discussed under the title of “Power”
in this chapter of the book. Plus, “Structure” as the last subheading of this
chapter have the topics of structural conditions for conflict resolution, functionalist
perspectives, political instability and conflict, violence structure in a failed
state, extra- system environment, system and sub- systems, boundaries between
states and ethnic identity, network analysis, field theory and conflict.

In the third and last main chapter of the book,
which named as “Settlement and Resolution Procedures”, the writer mainly
focuses on the methods of conflict resolution. Basically, these methods are
being dealt under four subheadings in this chapter. One of the subheadings
examines the context of “Negotiation” in a very detailed way together with many
aspects within the chapter. The necessity of negotiation, the process of
negotiation, effective negotiation and bargaining methods are some of the
subjects which had been dealt in this part of the book. Then, another
subheading examines the context of “Mediation” with six of smaller subheadings
which explains different aspects and dimensions of mediation like attributes of
mediation, roles and functions of intermediaries, diverse modes of mediation, phases
and steps in mediation, types of mediators, and assessing mediations. The third
subheading of the last chapter examines the context of “Facilitation” which is
another method of conflict resolution. Under this title, there are subheadings
named as features of facilitation and dialogue, facilitation and empowerment, diverse
application of facilitation, multi-party decision making, dialogue forums and
process, public peace process: the role of dialogue, and deeper communication:
a problem-solving workshop. As the last method in this chapter, the context of
“Reconciliation” examines the subjects like properties of reconciliation, steps
toward overcoming past enmity, restorative practice, path to healing, empathy
with the suffering of the other, and empowerment through cultural work.

 

Conflict
Management and Resolution: An Introduction

The Anatomy of Conflict Resolution and Management

Despite its application to a variety of situations,
the definition of conflict has traditionally been relegated to competition for
resources or other interests, value differences or dissatisfaction with basic
needs. Incompatible economic and political interests develop an attempt to
suppress other groups often with threats and actual use of force. Power
struggle is inevitably involved when each group attempts to impose its own language,
religious or social values on other groups which have their own unique
traditions and histories. As communal conflict in Sri Lanka and Kashmir for the
last several decades vividly demonstrates, minority groups have a strong desire
for autonomy and self- control of their destiny. In establishing or maintaining
a superior status, dominant groups may discriminate against minority ethnic
culture or language. Then the newly created hierarchy is used to further
control subordinate religious, racial, or linguistic groups.

Regardless of wide differences in the types of
relationships, “incompatibility of goals” features general characteristics of
conflict. The pursuit of different objectives leads to interference in each
other’s activities to prevent an opponent from attaining what one group
desires. These conditions of conflict can result in either a sustained conflict
or compromise solutions unless a superior party overwhelms and subdues the
other side rather quickly. A minority group may seek outright independence, but
the state controlled by a majority ethnic group may oppose the aspiration and
even suppress rights to ethnic language and religion.

In an unregulated competition, claims to scarce
status, power, and resources may result in an attempt to injure or eliminate
rivals. Incompatible preferences are a more acute source of tension and
struggle especially when each party seeks distributive outcomes which satisfy
one group’s interests at the expense of others. A competitive struggle often
arises from a situation where each party’s aspirations cannot be fulfilled
simultaneously. In the absence of a past history of cooperation, aggressive
actions are more likely to be ignited in polarized communities where leaders
develop antagonistic attitudes toward each other. A long period of conflict
entrapment increases the likelihood of greater rigidity and polarization with
the reinforcement of mistrust, enemy perceptions and feelings of victimization.
The stereotypes of an enemy and misunderstanding of their motives justify the
denial of the legitimacy of opposing claims. The institutionalization of
negative interactions is inherent in conflicts fueled by many years of
accumulated hostilities. This is vividly represented by recurrent provocations
and confrontations between the Sudanese government and southern provinces which
seek independence. When an intense struggle permeates the social fabric with
its effect on individuals and institutions, a vicious cycle of destructive
struggles touches multi- faceted layers of adversarial relationships.

 

Dimensions of Conflict Management

The context of an ethnic conflict is provided by
social and cultural rules and values embedded in the myths, memories,
traditions, and symbols of heritages which exclusively define group characteristics.
Language and other markers are invoked to establish group boundaries and
determine status and social identity through inter- ethnic comparison. The
basic function of shared communication is critical to the development of group
consciousness. The transmission of ideas and symbols is involved in molding
attitudes and behaviors separating people into antagonistic groupings.
Differentiated identities are not a lone source of violence, but can lead to a
deadly conflict in combination with exclusionary acts of leaders and
competition for status, position, or material wealth.

In general, identities are regarded as the
collective phenomena of expressing group sameness. The deep and foundational
forms of collective selfhood can be manifested in the great variety of
distinctive cultural creativity, ranging from art to drama to literature to
philosophy. Culture is an inevitable element of group distinctiveness, as
social existence is tied to a particular language or a religious community
associated with given social practices. The distinct memories of different
collectivities are represented by histories and genealogies defined by blood
and custom. The themes of homeland, founding origins, and common descent in
ethnic stories foster heroism and sacrifice.

In a general context, power can be defined as “a
capacity to realize goals by making particular things happen”. In conflict
situations, power provides an actor with the capabilities to control the
others’ preferences and opportunities in one’s own quest to achieve desired
conditions. One party has a greater control over an outcome than the other
party by enforcing change in the other party’s behavior. In producing the
intended effects of power, one’s action gets the other to behave in the way one
wants. In relational terms, power functions as a concept of measuring the
psychological and behavioral effects of one’s action in another. Power can be
exercised by using threat or actual coercion as well as control of reward and
punishment.

Various dimensions of power, psychological,
physical, and organizational, are linked to an attempt to control conflict
processes and their effects in human behavior. Rough power parity is likely to
engender more severe competition, hampering settlement, in that more or less
equal power relations lead to continued deadlock or protracted struggle without
external shocks or pressure. The fear of imbalanced military capabilities often
leads to a competitive arms race, creating a prisoner’s dilemma in which
aspiring for a superior destructive capability hurts each other’s welfare
without guaranteeing more security. The efforts to change the status quo may
involve an even further escalation of conflict.

While there has been sufficient emphasis on research
and practice on cultural and psychological issues, adequate attention has not
been paid to questions of social justice and economic inequality as sources of
conflict and problems to be resolved. In most analysis, structure has been
considered as given rather than conditions to be rectified. The role of
conflict management has been oriented toward how to maintain or restore order.
In the Hobbes’ tradition, human beings are assumed to be inherently aggressive,
and thus behavioral control becomes a main concern of conflict management mechanisms.
However, diverse structural concerns need to be understood in the examination
of overall conditions of group behavior and social processes relevant to
managing tensions and animosities. In fact, violent protests in Kenya, frequent
social unrest in Nigeria, and Hindu–Muslim violence in India are in one way or
another connected to ethnic rivalry and resistance against the hegemony
established by state institutions.

Social structures create mechanisms that help
control or channel conflicts through normative regulation, but the degree of
their institutionalization differs. In kinship and tribal societies, informal
traditional social practice is used to handle group conflicts without
dependence on modern legal systems. A sense of justice emerges from the intrinsic
values of society. Often religious functions are combined with communal
cultural practice which has a wider acceptance in societies. There exists a
wide range of conflict management procedures and styles, reflecting socio-
cultural variations.

 

Settlement and Resolution Procedures

Negotiation can be defined as a process to resolve
differences in goals that arise from dissimilar interests and perspectives. In
probing to unearth underlying concerns, negotiators share their views in order
to establish the areas of common ground and agreement. Fair, efficient outcomes
can emerge from the exchange of concessions in a search for creative solutions.
Cooperation and conflict are built right into negotiating relationships. The
Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) and Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties
(START) between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War represent an
attempt to control the joint vulnerability of the spiraling arms race (creating
high expenditures on weapons and heightened tensions) by negotiating limits to
the build up of weapons or reductions in their stockpile. Negotiation is
feasible because parties have not only divergent but also shared interests. In
a bargaining relationship, one party has something desired by the other. Identifying
competing interests is involved in discussion about the issues.

The purpose for negotiating is to achieve something
by changing the status quo. “If both parties are satisfied with the way things
are, there is nothing for them to negotiate about”. In bargaining, each party
has an ability to satisfy at least part of the desires of their negotiating
partner by controlling a new opportunity or creating a new relationship. If
there is no immediate gain, parties should believe in potential future gains. In
coming to an agreement, parties want to improve their own situation while
avoiding the worst outcome. A bargaining structure depends on whether each side
has viable choices. The other party is “tempted to give as little as possible”.
The merit of alternatives strengthens one’s bargaining position; multiple
alternatives expand one’s choice to pursue a desirable deal. Therefore the
erosion of one’s negotiating positions comes from having very limited options.
In asymmetric bargaining situations, one party has no alternative but “to take
what is offered.” There is not much room to bargain when other choices are
worse than keeping the present arrangement intact. In such situations as taking
less or paying more than originally expected, no deal could often be better
than a bad deal that creates the worst- case scenarios. The fallback position
can be to leave things as they are if negotiated settlement does not leave you
any better off than the current situation and you do not lose anything.

Negotiation from opening to closure is comprised of
many steps and moves at each phase. Initial planning and fact-finding can be
accompanied by the development of negotiating positions and exchange of
information. Successful informal pre- negotiation discussion leads to direct bargaining
designed to settle differences along with the exploration of each party’s
needs.

Although there are many forms of mediation, in
general, it is widely known for “neutral” third-party assistance in reaching
settlement. Theoretically, an intermediary intervention in the negotiation
process is not supposed to be authoritative in the sense that mediators do not
make rulings or impose an agreement. Since they are making decisions, partisans
may feel it is fairer with mediation than with arbitration which they cannot
control. Thus, mediation can be characterized as “a form of assisted
negotiation” or at least is seen as “a catalyst for negotiation”. Being
motivated for settlement is essential to any successful mediation not only
because consent to a mediation process is voluntary but also because the
disputants make final decisions on the issue.

A facilitative process can also be utilized for
communal problem solving as well as creating an opportunity for informal
contact between members of antagonistic communities that might lead to official
negotiations. A series of meetings among people representing communities of
various warring parties in Tajikistan were engaged in the analysis of the
causes of the conflict and joint exploration of solutions. The dialogue showed
the possibility of negotiated settlement, prompting official negotiations to
end the civil war in 1996. In post- apartheid South Africa, several series of
facilitative meetings were organized to improve the policing service, and
communal groups were invited to generate practical solutions.

Once conflict is resolved, relationship changes are
necessary to remove negative emotional residues that can ignite future
hostilities. In overcoming violence and building peaceful relations, fractured
social bonds need to be reconstructed, resetting people’s expectations of
themselves and others. However, the remnant of deep divisions among communities
based on fear and anger creates serious challenges to putting a broken social
fabric back together. A post- conflict process in such places as Cambodia,
Sierra Leone, and Bosnia- Herzegovina is fraught with emotional injury and pain
brought about by the death of family members, the shock of exposure to
atrocious acts, as well as the loss of property. Difficulties in the
suppression of grief and fear often result in a strong desire for justice and
revenge.

 

Conclusion

 According
to Jeong, there are various causes behind a conflict which has an international
dimension. Poverty and discrimination are some factors that cause a conflict
between the states or within a state. He basically claims that a conflict
arises from the failure to manage antagonistic relationships. According to the
book, in order to establish functional relationships, the solution should be
found through negotiated agreements rather than resorting to violent tactics.
At that point, it gains importance to understand the characteristics and
dimensions of a conflict, in order to find the most applicable solution to the
problem.

However, he asserts that a conflict mainly have
three main dimensions which are identity, power and structure. Identity can be
used as a means to create a conflict in the international system. But it can
also be invoked to call for unity and solidarity. When it comes to power, it is
certainly one of the most significant characteristics of a conflict. It is an
essential ingredient in understanding conflict relationships and behavior along
with identity. Power is characterized by an ability to hurt each other
economically, physically, and psychologically when actions and counter- actions
are mutually opposed in direct confrontation. In asymmetric relationships,
power can be used to impose and justify discrimination against another group. Power
has not only physical effects but also effects in an individual actor’s
perceptions. On the other hand, structure is another dimension of a conflict
which should be emphasized adequately in order to understand a conflict as a
whole. In most analysis, structure has been considered as given rather than
conditions to be rectified. Basically, Jeong claims that the structure of a
conflict should be precisely examined and understood to create the most
applicable solution.

As a conclusion, the writer clarifies that there are
four different ways of resolution procedures which are basically entitled as
negotiation, mediation, facilitation and reconciliation. Jeong says that negotiation,
as a game of influence, entails varied aspects of human interactions, the
dynamics of which are affected by emotions, culture, and social environment. He
also adds that mistrust and fear are an inevitable part of negotiation
relationships between adversaries. On the other hand, negotiation is also part
of managing international relations through treaty making between two countries
or on a multilateral basis. When it comes to mediation, Jeong says that although
there are many forms of mediation, in general, it is widely known for “neutral”
third-party assistance in reaching settlement. Theoretically, an intermediary
intervention in the negotiation process is not supposed to be authoritative in
the sense that mediators do not make rulings or impose an agreement. Since they
are making decisions, partisans may feel it is fairer with mediation than with
arbitration which they cannot control. Thus, mediation can be characterized as
“a form of assisted negotiation” or at least is seen as “a catalyst for
negotiation”. Another method of dealing with a conflict is facilitation.
According to the book, reaching consensus or some kind of agreement by
facilitative methods is often essential to finding acceptable options for
different parties. A facilitative process can also be utilized for communal
problem solving as well as creating an opportunity for informal contact between
members of antagonistic communities that might lead to official negotiations.
Last of all, Jeong refers about reconciliation which entails steps toward
psychic, attitudinal, and behavioral changes beyond the settlement of issues
which have immediate consequences such as cessation of war. The emotional and
psychological residues of conflict – trauma, fear, and hurt – poison future
relations, since they continue to fuel revenge motives. Jeong basically claims
that fractured social bonds need to be reconstructed, resetting people’s
expectations of themselves and others, in overcoming violence and building
peaceful relations.