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National reform is the best conflict resolution strategy

Conflict arises from two opposing concerns according to the dual concern model, concern for self and concern for others. How conflicting parties balance the two concerns leads to five different styles of conflict resolution:

1. Yielding style. It is characterized by high concern for others and low concern for self.

2. Competing style. This is the opposite of the yielding style, putting self over others.

3. Collaborating style. It's a good balance between pro-self and pro-social behaviors, seeking a win-win solution.

4. Compromising style. Both sides have to compromise and meet half-way. No one gets everything.

5. Preventing style. The strategy is to prevent conflict from happening in the first place. It is a variant of the avoiding strategy which is considered suboptimal because it usually means not facing up to reality and letting a conflict fester.

In resolving the current political conflict, Options 1 and 2 are out because they are too extreme. Options 3 and 4 are impossible due to the lack of trust between the pro-reform movement and the pro-status quo faction.

Perhaps what the "Whistles" reform movement is doing is pursuing the preventing style of conflict resolution strategy. That is, by reforming the system and setting everything right, the strategy will help prevent future conflicts from occurring.

Viewed this way, this may be the optimal strategy for Thailand in the long run.

Anan Pakvasa

Bangkok


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