At LEMCO, we understand the issues and challenges occurring at the community level and how this influences the development process. The challenges associated with community development can be linked to conflict* and/or developmental stressors that are often affiliated with the unequal distribution of benefits or unequal say in development goals. As a means of resolution to conflict stemming from differing goals, LEMCO specializes in creative solutions to practical problems. To assist in the development process and to ensure the best possible outcome for all stakeholders, conflict management is implemented to counter destructive outcomes and promote constructive implications from conflict
During the planning and integration of development initiatives, LEMCO understands the importance of conflict management when dealing with stakeholders. As a means of conflict management, LEMCO incorporates a consensus among stakeholders regarding the appropriate direction of development. To assist in developing this consensus, LEMCO handles uncertainty by establishing an environment that encourages dialogue and learning amongst the local stakeholders.
Conflict management is also needed as a result of local residents being concerned over the impact of development. To assist in conflict management, LEMCO facilitates conflict resolution. LEMCO achieves this by bringing formal knowledge and expertise to the planning process. When destructive conflict needs to be converted into a constructive exchange, LEMCO employs a participatory process, where all participants are encouraged to adopt and clarify a position.
Through facilitation, LEMCO staff is experienced in transforming destructive conflict into constructive dialogue and empowering community stakeholders. During the planning process, stakeholders must be able to agree on the problems associated with development and the issues that will need to be addressed through the collaborative arrangement. LEMCO develops a mutual understanding with associated stakeholders to combat some of the initial conflict that may have pre-existed between local stakeholders and also establish a pre-emptive strategy to negate potential areas of future conflict.
LEMCO staff also specializes in mediating conflict between the public and private sector. The resolution of conflict requires the understanding, evaluation, and management of tensions between stakeholders. While many goals of vested parties are conflicted, there are additionally many like-minded goals and interests from which to build upon within the conflict resolution scenario. Acknowledging the interests of others assists in moving forward, dialogue development, and consensus building.
*: Conflict occurs as part of the development process and is not negative or positive. Conflict impacts the relationship between stakeholders and the overarching benefits of the development process. Constructive conflict can manifest through frustration, debate, or discussion, and can lead to increased understanding among collaborators to secure a positive development outcome.
To assist in the community development process and its management, LEMCO utilises a conflict management model to assess the development process. The model identifies ‘instances’ of conflict*, the ‘responses’ to the conflict, and the ‘impacts’ of the ‘responses’.
Through the application of the conflict management model, development practitioners are able to better assess and manage the challenges associated with the development process. The model assists practitioners recognise the specific sequence of events that resulted in either positive or negative outcomes that occurred as a result of managing the issues and challenges associated with the development process. Additionally, the model provides a format to evaluate past or present development projects in order to manage current or future projects better. Therefore, by understanding the model, management is able to reflect on what actions resulted in positive or negative outcomes. As a result, practitioners are able to better prepare themselves and community members for the development process.
Conflict management modeling improves the development process through establishing a checks and balances approach to understanding the cause and effect relationships that occur during development. The model can be applied in real time and reassessed periodically to determine how management decisions are affecting the development process. The model is applicable when evaluating both short and long term sequences.
The model also creates accountability during the conflict management process. This is achieved through recognition of whether an ‘instance’ is occurring that needs a ‘response’, a ‘response’ is being implemented to address an ‘instance’ or influence a desired ‘impact’, or an ‘impact’ has happened as a result of the management practice applied. Due to the complex and dynamic nature of conflict management, particularly during the development process, the model provides a way for practitioners to identify and distinguish how management practices influence the overall development process.
Q*: Conflict occurs as part of the development process and is not negative or positive. Conflict impacts the relationship between stakeholders and the overarching benefits of the development process. Constructive conflict can manifest through frustration, debate, or discussion, and can lead to increased understanding among collaborators to secure a positive development outcome.