Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
– Middle English, from Latin conflictus act of striking together, from
confligere to strike together, from com- + fligere to strike — more at
Date: 15th century
1: fight, battle, war <an armed conflict>
2 a: competitive or opposing action of incompatibles
: antagonistic state or action (as of divergent ideas, interests, or
persons) b: mental struggle resulting from incompatible or
opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal
3: the opposition of persons or forces that gives rise to the
dramatic action in a drama or fiction
Conflict and specific conflicts are seen by us
through our culture’s worldview and our own
– includes definitions of ―good‖, ―bad‖, ―right‖ and
• In this room there are probably varying
degrees of what conflict is, how it is handled
and how people react to it
• For each ―conflict‖ shown next, rate it on your
personal scale from 1 to 5-
– 1 being not a big deal, very little emotion and 5
being a big deal with lots of emotion involved
• What types of responses did you have to some
of the pictures?
• Were there pictures that were more personal to
you? Did that effect your rating?
• How can ―minor‖ conflicts like some of these
get out of control between roommates? Best
friends? Fellow GHDs and CAs?
Types of Conflict
• There is a perceived breach of faith and trust between
• There is unresolved disagreement that has escalated to an
• There is miscommunication leading to unclear expectations
• There are personality clashes
• There are differences in acquired values
• There is underlying stress and tension
• There are ego problems
• There are combinations of the above
How can we categorize the conflict pictures?
All of these types of conflict will pop-up throughout life
College is hopefully where life lessons are taught-in the
classroom and out of the classroom
Since not all time is spent in the classroom during
college…where else might these conflicts occur….??
In our Residence Halls!
• Conflict Resolution happens in one of two ways:
– Conflicting parties come together to work out their
– A third party may come in to help resolve differences
• GHDs & CAs as conflict facilitators
– Very similar to mediators
– Your goal- “to get people to express their views and
listen to one another in the hopes of finding common
ground to achieve a solution” (Illinois State University, 2004)
– Used as part of the Room Change Process
―Resolving Conflict between Roommates‖
Refer to your handout as the skit plays out
Your Hats as Facilitator
• The legitimatizer
– You can provide a safe mechanism through which roommates can air
differences without losing face by directly approaching each other.
• The opener of communication channels
– When roommates are not talking to each other for various reasons
(emotional heat, hostile actions, etc.), you can open channels of
communication and get them talking to each other.
• The translator and transmitter of information
– Sometimes roommates may be talking to, but not understanding, each
other. They may come from different backgrounds or cultures, or they
simply may perceive the problem differently. You may then act as a
translator, transmitter, and clarifier of information.
Your Hats as Facilitator
• The facilitator
– If the roommates are talking but not getting anywhere, a
third party offering skills in conflict resolution will
facilitate the flow of feelings and information. You can also
facilitate resolution of the problem simply by keeping the
discussion flowing and by helping to maintain a good
perspective on the goals of the mediation.
• The trainee
– One of the most important functions you can serve as
mediator is to explain the mediation process involved
within the framework of the particular conflict situation.
• The resource expander
– Often the roommates in conflict do not have access to
information on how to get specialized help, if needed, in
resolving their conflict. You can serve as a link to the
necessary resource people.
Your Hat as Facilitator
• The agent of reality
– As the conflict nears resolution, it is your job as mediator
to help the roommates to perceive each others needs.
• The scapegoat
– You may serve as someone to blame for the roommates'
mutual dissatisfaction with the results.
“And will you succeed?
Yes indeed, yes indeed!
three-quarters percent guaranteed.”
Moore, Leila V. (2000) Managing conflict
constructively. In M.J. Barr & M.K. Desler
(Eds) The handbook of student affairs
administration (2nd ed, pp. 393-409) San
Fransisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
A Guide on the Mediation Process for Resident
Assistants at Illinois State University.(August
2004) Dean of Students Office Illinois State