Disputes can be managed

One of the situations I have come across, is that of offenses and disputes people find themselves in.

Reasons for these situations could be intentional or unintentional.

Whether there are any extenuating circumstances calling for either of the two reasons, solutions still must be sought to lay the matter to rest between the rivals.

I have learnt from some of the experts that offenses (disputes) cannot be eradicated, for it is natural for them to take place. Instead, they can be managed.

Another view regarding conflict goes as follows: “Offenses cannot be run away from. Whenever you ask for promotion, you ask for offenses. No matter where you run to, there are offenses. It only depends on how you handle them.”

Often you must work out a clear term of reference which does not disadvantage either party. Normally the guilty party (or if both are) would make every effort to convince the mediator of his or her innocence, hence it may not be easy for them to find common ground.

Remember common ground for compromise does not only apply to the warring parties applying the Pareto-principal, but also on humanitarian grounds, where people cater for each other’s needs (desires) on equal basis.

Let us look at the two kinds of compromise rules in the resolution of conflicts.

  • The Pareto principle: discovered by the Chinese for resolving differences between the offender and the offended. Literally the rule is known as the “win – lose or lose – win’’ and the “win – win or lose – lose’’ rule.

This type of rule has worked well for some, although others do not see it that way, as they think of it as one way of belittling them and thus subjecting them to their offenders’ authority.

  • The humanitarian rule: This is generally the most accessible one applied between the parties that are at loggerheads.

It does not need any intervention, nor mediation, as parties can resolve their differences alone amicably.

I once had an argument with one middle-aged mother over certain medical conditions of patients.

It all started when this mother requested me to close the window of the patient commuter minibus we were travelling in.

She started fuming when I insisted in selfdefence and for other patients’ medical advice not to be subjected to an unhealthy and unventilated environment like the one we were exposed to; only to be told that I was being stubborn.

She looked in the opposite direction, ignoring me until we arrived at the Universitas Hospital in Bloemfontein, without being prepared to compromise her position to accommodate others who had the same case as hers in a different way.

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