MANAGEMENT OF CONFLICT – AGONOLOGY versus SATYAGRAHA

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: HOW TO DEAL WITH CONFLICT.

CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
Two Contrasting Approaches – AGONOLOGY and SATYAGRAHA
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Link to my original article in my journal:
http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/10/how-to-deal-with-conflict.html

HOW TO DEAL WITH CONFLICT
Ruminations
By
VIKRAM KARVE
CONFLICT RIDDEN ENVIRONMENT
We live in a conflict-ridden environment and we do not know what to do about it.
It seems that we are confused.
There are so many conflicts going on right now.
There are problems with our not-so-friendly neighbours at our borders, especially the frequent skirmishes at the LoC and intrusions and incursions at the LAC.
There are internal security issues and law and order problems within.
Politicians and political parties are perpetually in a state of conflict with each other.
And there is antagonism and ill-will between sections of society.
There is an environment of rancor and bitterness everywhere.
For example, look at the acrimony between ex-servicemen and “babus” or for that matter the bad-blood between the uniformed military and the civil services.
In other places too, there is increasing resentment between various cadres of employees and between competing businesses.
There is an increase in “gender conflict” too, at home, at work, and in society, and this leads to violence against women at both the domestic and societal levels.
It seems that these conflicts are allowed to fester because we seem confused and do not know how to deal with all these issues.
You cannot neglect the issue and allow conflicts to go on indefinitely in the hope that the conflicts will resolve themselves.
If you adopt this approach, conflicts will aggravate and things may worsen to such an extent that you will have to pay a heavy price.
Conflicts have to be resolved.
And, in order to resolve conflict, you cannot “look the other way” and be indifferent and hope for the best and wish that the immortal panacea “time” or some divine miracle will solve your problems, or someone else will resolve your conflicts for you.
You have to deal with and resolve your own conflicts yourself – you cannot “outsource” this because outsourcing conflict resolution may create an even bigger problem, as history has shown.
How do you resolve conflicts?
Which approach do you adopt?
There are contrasting approaches to resolving conflict – and all these approaches lie in between the two extreme theories of conflict resolution.
CONTRASTING APPROACHES TO CONFLICT MANAGEMENT – THE TWO EXTREMES
The two extreme approaches to resolving conflict are:
1. AGONOLOGY
2. SATYAGRAHA
AGONOLOGY
Agonology employs a strategy of deceit.
The objective is to defeat the opponent by using whatever means, violent and non-violent, which may be expedient.
The cardinal principle of Agonology is to make the opponent’s position as difficult as possible.
Escalate the conflict, especially if it creates more difficulties for your opponent than you.
Strike first at the opponent’s most vital parts.
Attach the opponent frontally and internally.
Make him bleed externally and internally by giving him a “thousand cuts”.
Destroy and degrade his resources, and if possible, subvert his resources and try to use his own resources against him.
Deceive your opponent; never disclose your “true” intentions, motives and tactics.
Commit “irrational” acts from time to time to confuse opponent
Go in for the “kill” at the earliest favourable opportunity.
Push your opponent against the wall, into a tight corner, and leave your opponent with only one way out and that is to surrender to your wishes.
Make him resolve the conflict on your terms without any “give and take”.
SATYAGRAHA
Gandhian Satyagraha employs a “truth” strategy.
In this context, “Truth” means a resolution of the conflict without compromising your own cardinal principles, beliefs and values.
The objective of Satyagraha is to achieve an agreement with the opponent acceptable to both sides by engaging him in a search for “truth”, using only nonviolent means.
The basic premise of Satyagraha is to engage your opponent by non-violent means in a search for “truth” which will lead to a mutually favourable solution and amicable resolution of the conflict.
Satyagraha is based on ethical principles.
You never take undue advantage of your opponent’s difficulties.
You try to cool down the conflict and search for avenues of cooperation on honorable terms, in a spirit of “give and take”.
You protect the opponent’s person and his resources.
You do not take any actions that will make your opponent “lose face”.
You never lie, you never hold anything back and you keep your opponent informed of your actions.
You reduce your demands to a minimum consistent with “truth”.
You try your best to extend areas of rationality in searching for a mutually acceptable solution.
You launch direct action only after exhausting all efforts to achieve an honorable settlement, but all your actions are strictly non-violent.
CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Agonology and Satyagraha are two extreme contrasting approaches to resolving conflict.
You cannot swing from one extreme to another as this causes confusion and exacerbates the conflict rather than mitigate it.
For each conflict, you have to formulate a specific conflict resolution strategy
You may, at first, take a middle-of-the-road approach.
If you can resolve the conflict, it is well and good.
Otherwise, you will have to move towards one of the extremities and decide between Agonology and Satyagraha.


So do tell us, for the various intractable “unresolvable” conflicts going on in our present-day scenario, which approach do your suggest – Agonology or Satyagraha?
VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this book review. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
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