- LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 27 July 2016
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0026
- LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 27 July 2016
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0026
Conflict resolution (CR) may be defined as any process used to manage, determine, or settle differences that may arise among individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, nations, or any other social unit. Social conflict may arise because of perceived differences in relation to values, needs, goals, interests, rights, positions, or wishes. Many social work roles require the use of conflict management methods, including negotiation, mediation, advocacy, group facilitation, family group conferencing, healing circles, and evaluation. Although social workers incorporate conflict resolution skills in virtually all contexts of practice, advanced conflict resolution theory, strategies, and skills have only been incorporated into the literature of relatively few contexts of practice, for instance, social advocacy, family and divorce mediation, and contracting with involuntary clients. This entry highlights the books and articles contributed by social work scholars and researchers but also includes core conflict resolution works from experts in related disciplines (especially law, management, criminal justice, psychology, and peace and justice studies).
The following resources introduce readers to key conflict resolution theories, models, skills, and practice methods. Bossy 2003 provides a historical exploration of disputes and conflict resolution. Deutsch 1973 offers a classic overview of the field of conflict resolution. Deutsch, et al. 2006; Moffitt and Bordone 2005; and Sandole, et al. 2009 provide the most comprehensive analyses of conflict resolution theory and current practices. Barsky 2015 demonstrates how need theory, attribution theory, developmental theory, rational choice theory, systems theory, social constructionism, and a range of other bio-psycho-social theories can be used to inform conflict resolution practice in social work and the helping professions. Roche, et al. 2014 explores a broad range of conflict management systems in organizational settings.
Barsky, Allan E. 2015. Conflict resolution for the helping professions: Negotiation, mediation, advocacy, facilitation, and restorative justice. 3d ed. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.
Introduces students to five basic approaches to conflict resolution—power, rights, interests, therapeutic, and transformation—demonstrating how these approaches can be applied in a broad range of contexts, including family conflict, workplace disputes, ethical dilemmas, intercultural issues, criminal justice, and health care. Skills inventories and experiential exercises provide students with the opportunity to put theory into practice.
Bossy, John, ed. 2003. Disputes and settlements: Law and human relations in the West. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.
This compilation of essays provides historical, anthropological, legal, and religious perspectives on social conflict and dispute resolution from the 6th to the 19th centuries in England, Scotland, Ireland, and France.
Deutsch, Morton. 1973. The resolution of conflict. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.
Provides one of the earliest and most comprehensive analyses of the nature of conflict and factors that contribute to constructive or destructive resolution. This oft-cited text provides a typology of conflict and—of particular significance to social workers—examines how people with less power can use nonviolent means to persuade people with greater power and to promote social justice.
Deutsch, Morton, Peter T. Coleman, and Eric C. Marcus, eds. 2006. Handbook of conflict resolution: Theory and practice. 2d ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Brings together leading conflict resolution scholars, who analyze the relationship between conflict and a range of factors, including perceptions of justice/injustice, cooperation/competition, trust/mistrust, communication, culture, emotion, and power. The authors translate theoretical (social psychological) understandings of these factors into practical suggestions for conflict resolution trainers and practitioners.
Furlong, Gary T. 2005. The conflict resolution toolbox: Models and maps for analyzing, diagnosing, and resolving conflict. Mississauga, ON: John Wiley.
Rather than assuming that one conflict resolution model fits all conflict situations, Furlong provides a framework for analyzing conflicts and determining the best approach for intervention.
Lederach, John Paul. 2005. The moral imagination. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.
Lederach brings his experience in international community development and peace building to a thoughtful explanation of how to bring spirituality, serendipity, and moral imagination into conflict resolution processes. Whereas many conflict resolution textbooks focus on skills, strategies, and cognitive analysis of conflict, Lederach demonstrates how the art of conflict resolution and the openness to opportunities may be equally important.
Moffitt, Michael L., and Robert C. Bordone, eds. 2005. The handbook of dispute resolution. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
This handbook focuses on “dispute resolution” (with an emphasis on legal disputes), providing a comprehensive overview of the history, research, and theory that inform this field of practice. The chapters are broken into four sections: understanding disputants, understanding dispute contexts, understanding resolution processes, and emerging issues.
Oetzel, John G., and Stella Ting-Toomey, eds. 2013. The SAGE handbook of conflict communication: Integrating theory, research, and practice. 2d ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
This edited handbook provides a comprehensive literature review of the theory and practice of conflict resolution in the contexts of interpersonal conflict, intercultural conflict, workplace conflict, and international conflict.
Roche, W., Paul Teague, and Alexander Colvin, eds. 2014. The Oxford handbook of conflict management in organizations. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.
This edited handbook explores workplace conflict, including the use of mediation, ombudsman, and other conflict resolution systems. Includes case studies and materials from various countries, including China, New Zealand, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Sandole, Dennis J. D., Sean Byrne, Ingrid Staroste-Sandole, and Jessica Senehim, eds. 2009. Handbook of conflict analysis and resolution. New York: Routledge.
This thirty-six-chapter handbook demonstrates the breadth of conflict literature in terms of understanding the nature of conflict, core approaches, and international perspectives. The strength of this book is its theory, as some chapters are weak on their research bases.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Adolescent Depression
- Adolescent Pregnancy
- Adoption Home Study Assessments
- Adult Protective Services in the United States
- African Americans
- Aging, Physical Health and
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse Problems
- Alcohol and Drug Problems, Prevention of Adolescent and Yo...
- Alcohol Problems: Practice Interventions
- Alcohol Use Disorder
- Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
- Anti-Oppressive Practice
- Asian Americans
- Asian-American Youth
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Baccalaureate Social Workers
- Behavioral Health
- Behavioral Social Work Practice
- Bereavement Practice
- Brief Therapies in Social Work: Task-Centered Model and So...
- Bullying and Social Work Intervention
- Canadian Social Welfare, History of
- Case Management in Mental Health in the United States
- Child Poverty
- Child Welfare
- Child Welfare and Child Protection in Europe, History of
- Children of Incarcerated Parents
- Christianity and Social Work
- Chronic Illness
- Clinical Social Work Practice with Adult Lesbians
- Clinical Social Work Practice with Males
- Cognitive Behavior Therapies with Diverse and Stressed Pop...
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Community Development
- Community Policing
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Community-Needs Assessment
- Comparative Social Work
- Conflict Resolution
- Council on Social Work Education
- Counseling Female Offenders
- Criminal Justice
- Crisis Interventions
- Cultural Competence and Ethnic Sensitive Practice
- Culture, Ethnicity, Substance Use, and Substance Use Disor...
- Dementia Care, Ethical Aspects of
- Depression and Cancer
- Development and Infancy (Birth to Age Three)
- Direct Practice in Social Work
- Disability and Disability Culture
- Domestic Violence Among Immigrants
- Eating Disorders
- Ecological Framework
- Economic Evaluation
- Elder Mistreatment
- End-of-Life Decisions
- Epigenetics for Social Workers
- Ethics and Values in Social Work
- Evidence-based Social Work Practice
- Evidence-based Social Work Practice: Finding Evidence
- Evidence-based Social Work Practice: Issues, Controversies...
- Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs
- Families with Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Parents
- Family Caregiving
- Family Group Conferencing
- Family Policy
- Family Services
- Family Therapy
- Family Violence
- Fathering Among Families Served By Child Welfare
- Field Education
- Financial Literacy and Social Work
- Financing Health-Care Delivery in the United States
- Forensic Social Work
- Foster Care
- Gay Men
- Generalist Practice and Advanced Generalist Practice
- Group Work
- Group Work across Populations, Challenges, and Settings
- Group Work, Research, Best Practices, and Evidence-based
- Harm Reduction
- Health Care Reform
- Health Disparities
- Health Social Work
- History of Social Work and Social Welfare, 1900–1950
- History of Social Work and Social Welfare, 1950-1980
- History of Social Work and Social Welfare, pre-1900
- History of Social Work from 1980-2014
- History of Social Work in China
- History of Social Work in Northern Ireland
- History of Social Work in the Republic of Ireland
- History of Social Work in the United Kingdom
- HIV/AIDS Prevention with Adolescents
- Homelessness Outside the United States
- Human Needs
- Human Trafficking, Victims of
- Immigrant Policy in the United States
- Immigrants and Refugees
- Immigrants and Refugees: Evidence-based Social Work Practi...
- Impaired Professionals
- Implementation Science and Practice
- Indigenous Peoples
- Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Supported Employmen...
- International Social Welfare
- International Social Work
- International Social Work and Education
- International Social Work and Social Welfare in Southern A...
- Internet and Video Game Addiction
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy
- Intervention with Traumatized Populations
- Intimate-Partner Violence
- Juvenile Justice
- Korean Americans
- Latinos and Latinas
- Law, Social Work and the
- LGBTQ Populations and Social Work
- Life Span
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Management and Administration in Social Work
- Maternal Mental Health
- Measurement, Scales, and Indices
- Medical Illness
- Men: Health and Mental Health Care
- Mental Health
- Mental Health Diagnosis and the Addictive Substance Disord...
- Mental Health Needs of Older People, Assessing the
- Mental Illness: Children
- Mental Illness: Elders
- Middle East and North Africa, International Social Work an...
- Military Social Work
- Mixed Methods Research
- Motivational Interviewing
- Native Americans
- Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders
- Neighborhood Social Cohesion
- Neuroscience and Social Work
- Nicotine Dependence
- Occupational Social Work
- Organizational Development and Change
- Pain Management
- Palliative Care
- Palliative Care: Evolution and Scope of Practice
- Parent Training
- Philosophy of Science and Social Work
- Physical Disabilities
- Police Social Work
- Positive Youth Development
- Postmodernism and Social Work
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Practice Interventions and Aging
- Practice Interventions with Adolescents
- Practice Research
- Primary Prevention in the 21st Century
- Productive Engagement of Older Adults
- Profession, Social Work
- Psychiatric Rehabilitation
- Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Theory
- Psychopathology and Social Work Practice
- Psychopharmacology and Social Work Practice
- Psychosocial Framework
- Psychosocial Intervention with Women
- Psychotherapy and Social Work
- Qualitative Research
- Race and Racism
- Readmission Policies in Europe
- Religiously Affiliated Agencies
- Reproductive Health
- Research Ethics
- Restorative Justice
- Risk Assessment in Child Protection Services
- Risk Management in Social Work
- Rural Social Work Practice
- School Social Work
- School Violence
- School-Based Delinquency Prevention
- Services and Programs for Pregnant and Parenting Youth
- Severe and Persistent Mental Illness: Adults
- Sexual Assault
- Single-System Research Designs
- Social Development
- Social Insurance and Social Justice
- Social Intervention Research
- Social Justice and Social Work
- Social Movements
- Social Planning
- Social Policy
- Social Security in the United States (OASDHI)
- Social Work Education and Research
- Social Work Regulation
- Social Work Research Methods
- Solution-Focused Therapy
- Strategic Planning
- Strengths Perspective
- Strengths-Based Models in Social Work
- Supplemental Security Income
- Survey Research
- Syrian Refugees in Turkey
- Systematic Review Methods
- Task-Centered Practice
- Technology Adoption in Social Work Education
- Technology for Social Work Interventions
- Technology, Human Relationships, and Human Interaction
- Technology in Social Work
- Terminal Illness
- Transdisciplinary Science
- Translational Science and Social Work
- Transtheoretical Model of Change
- United States, History of Social Welfare in the
- Veteran Services
- Vicarious Trauma Redefining PTSD
- Victim Services
- Welfare State Reform in France
- Welfare State Theory
- Women and Macro Social Work Practice
- Women's Health Care
- Work and Family in the German Welfare State
- Working with Non-Voluntary and Mandated Clients
- Young and Adolescent Lesbians
- Youth at Risk
- Youth Services