As busy, working professionals, we so often wait for conflict to arise or relationships to deteriorate before we take steps to learn more about human relationships in the work environment. And by that point, the steps toward reparation can seem painful and even daunting. We know this, but we wait anyway. What does it take, then, to convince ourselves to take preventative measures against unnecessary conflicts?
Brown and Rosecrance wrote and edited a book called The Costs of Conflict: Prevention and Cure in the Global Arena (1999), in which they analyzed the prevention and reparation (“cure”) of specifically armed conflict around the globe. They wanted to expose reasons why the international community spends more time trying to solve serious conflicts after-the-fact than they do trying to prevent them.
Using their book to analyze the costs and benefits of prevention vs cure, the authors found armed conflict prevention to be significantly more economical than efforts to repair or cure relationships after-the-fact. Deep-seated conflicts are, after all, a very difficult type of issue to work with in a group setting, and can have effects that last for extended periods of time. The same can be said for workplace human relationships. Would you rather train your whole staff on themes like diversity and sensitivity, or wait for an accidental, preventable joke to snowball into a liability?
Moral of the story:
If we as working professionals recognize the value in prevention, then we may just be able to use our well-earned time and funds elsewhere.
Brown, M. E., & Rosecrance, R. N. (Eds.). (1999). The costs of conflict: prevention and cure in the global arena (Vol. 118). Rowman & Littlefield.