The Process of Conflict Escalation and Roles of Third Parties

  • Friedrich Glasl


Theory and practice of conflict handling by third parties present various approaches for the resolution of conflicts—for example, judicial conflict solving, arbitration, conciliation, mediation, good services, power intervention, process consultation, and so forth (Fisher, 1972; Young, 1972; La Tour et al., 1976; and Prein, 1976, 1979a). Many of these approaches may be compared and evaluated to arrive at some conclusions on the use of specific conflict-handling models for different kinds of social conflicts and different degrees of intensity of conflicts. However, what are different degrees of intensity? Which approach is appropriate for which degree of escalation? To answer these questions, this paper will present a model of escalation of social conflicts within organizations. The model of escalation describes various mechanisms at work and distinguishes nine different stages of escalation. Different strategies of conflict handling then are related to these nine different stages of escalation, and the relative value of conflict-handling interventions is discussed in light of the nine stages of escalation. The evaluation of these approaches suggests that all of them do have limited use and effect for specific stages but must be applied according to the degree of intensity of conflict.


Conflict Resolution Process Consultation Social Conflict Power Intervention Conflict Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1982

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  • Friedrich Glasl

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