The term "conflict" has two generally accepted meanings.' The first refers to overt conflict-an argument, fight, or struggle. The second refers to subjective conflict-Party's perception that Party and Other have opposing beliefs or interests, or that Other has deprived or annoyed Party in some way. The latter concept is richer for theory building than the former, in that there are several strategies Party can employ in reaction to subjective conflict. Party can take a contentious approach and retaliate, or Party can try to impose its will on Other by means of an argument, demand, or threat. This strategy is very likely to lead to overt conflict. Instead of contending, Party can remain inactive or yield to Other, or Party can engage in problem solving, with the aim of finding a solution to the conflict that both of them can accept. One sometimes finds combinations of these strategies
Dean G. Pruitt,
Social Conflict: Some Basic Principles,
2007 J. Disp. Resol.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/jdr/vol2007/iss1/8