Sinhala-Muslim conflict in Sri Lanka. The conflict resolution approaches in Digana

Academic Paper, 2020

104 Pages


Table of Contents


1.1 Background of the study
1.2 Research problem
1.3 Research questions
1.4. Research objectives
Main objective
Sub objectives
1.5 Hypothesis
1.6 Methodology
1.7 Importance of the study
1.8 Limitations

Literature review
2.1.1. Introduction
2.1.2. Concept of conflict
2.1.3. Define conflict resolution
2.1.4. Historical background of the conflict resolution
2.1.5. Conflict resolution approaches
2.1.6. Conflict resolution and practical background
2.1.7. Case studies
2.2. Theoretical framework
2.2.1. Introduction
2.2.2. Definitions
2.2.3. Conflict resolution approaches
2.2.4. Theory of conflict resolution
2.3.1 Conflict resolution in India
2.3.2 Conflict resolution in United State of America
2.3.3. Sri Lanka ethnic conflict resolution
2.4 Conclusion

Chapter Three
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research process
3.3 Research methodology
3.4 Data collection
3.5 Primary data
3.6 Quantitative data
3.7 Qualitative data
3.8 Secondary data
3.9 Data analysis
3.9.1 Qualitative data analysis – Content analysis
3.9.2 Quantitative data analysis – Statistical Package for the Social Sciences
3.10. Study area
3.11. Conclusion

Data analysis and representation
4.1. Introduction
4.2. Quantitative data analysis method
4.2.1 Descriptive analysis
4.2.2. Statistical analysis Hypothesis – 1 Hypothesis – 2
4.3. Conclusion of the quantitative data analysis
4.4 The qualitative data analysis method
4.4.1 Qualitative data analysis
4.5 Conclusion of the qualitative data analysis

5.1. Introduction
5.2. Overview of the research
5.3. Findings of the research
5.3.1. Examine the conflict resolution approaches that are capable of addressing a conflict constructively rather than destructively.
5.3.2. Identify the impact of conflict resolution on people’s behavior.
5.3.3. Strengths and weaknesses of conflict resolution.
5.4. Conclusion
5.5. Recommendations


Appendix: No 01
Appendix: No 02

List of figures

Figure 4.1. Descriptive analysis of the variable

Figure 4.2. Age

Figure 4.3 Job

Figure 4.4. The education level of the sample.

Figure 4.5. Were you affected by the 2018 Digana conflict?

Figure 4.6. The government got the necessary actions to prevent the conflict in the initial stage of the conflict.

Figure 4.7. The government would be able to arrive at a conflict resolution successfully

Figure 4.8. Impact of mediation effect on the conflict resolution process

Figure 4.9. Did Conflict management attempts become successful?

Figure 4.10 What do you think about your social relationship with other ethnicities before the incident?

Figure 4.11 Do you think is there any fragmentation of society due to the conflict?

Figure 4.12 Will conflict resolution be able to change people’s behavior?

Figure 4.13 What do you think about your social relationship with other ethnicities before the incident?

Figure: 4.14 Do you think conflict caused a loss of social integration?

List of Tables

Table 4. 1 Number of damages in Digana in Digana incident

Table 4. 2 Impact of the government policies to failure of conflict prevention

Table 4. 3 Politicians and political parties’ impact on conflict prevention

Table 4. 4 Impact of the fragmentation of ethnic groups on the behavioral change

Table 4. 5 Affected by the conflict cause to change the people’s behavior

Table 4. 6 Community-based organizations’ impact on conflict resolution

Table 4. 7 Non- governmental organizations’ impact on conflict resolution

Table 4. 8 Religious involvement to build ethnic harmony

Table 4. 9

Table 4. 10

Table 4. 11

List of maps

Map 1: Study area


The post conflict situation is considered as one of the important stages where the peace building activities are carried out. It is also the minimally fertile ground in which the fragile reconciliation process, having been planted, must now be nurtured and maintained. Consequently, post conflict peace building should aim at enabling durable peace solutions. Hence effectiveness of conflict resolution mechanisms depends on the number of factors such as, government’s willingness, role of the civil society and types of external interventions. This study examines the fruitfulness of conflict resolution approaches in the post-conflict context on the Sinhala- Muslim conflict in Digana. Both qualitative data and quantitative data have been used in this research. A semi-structured questionnaire containing open ended and close ended questions was used for gathering primary data. Secondary data were retrieved using articles, reports, journals and books. Gathered quantitative data were analyzed by using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) and the content analysis utilized for qualitative data analysis. The study observed that the absence of a proper conflict prevention mechanism and lack of early warning systems as the main factors behind the escalation of the conflict. Nonetheless government’s willingness to resolving the conflict by peaceful means was observed in the post conflict stage. Hence the civil society actors utilized several initiatives to bring positive peace. The political involvement in the post conflict stage has contributed towards the deterioration of the ethno- religious relations, thus negating richness of the conflict resolution mechanisms.

Key words: Sinhala- Muslim conflict, Conflict Resolution, Digana, Sri Lanka



1.1 Background of the study

A conflict is the most devastating problem in the current world. A conflict occurs when two or more people’s interests clash with each other. In other words, people’s incompatible goals have led to conflicts. In addition, it is an active disagreement within people. “Conflict is an active disagreement between people with an opposing opinion or principle”. (Cambridge University Press, 2020) A conflict may generate positive or negative consequences. To reduce the negative results, it must be managed. Conflict resolution is a process of managing conflicts. Mortan Deutsch is known as a pioneer of conflict resolution. He made a significant contribution towards the study of conflict resolution. On a study conducted by him, he focuses how a conflict makes productive. (Wani, 2011)

(Wani, 2011) According to this article, “the ‘resolution’ means the quality of being resolute, a firm decision, and an expression of opinion or intentions agreed by a legislative body, the action of solving a problem or dispute, the process of reducing or spreading something into components”. Further, in this article, he describes the conflict resolution as an umbrella term that refers to a whole range of methods and approaches for dealing with a conflict. It includes from negotiation to diplomacy, mediation to arbitration. In addition, Wani pointed out that the final aim of conflict resolution is not the elimination of conflicts and the final conflict resolution objective is transforming the actual or potential violent situation into a peaceful process.

Gandhi played an important role in the conflict resolution arena. His concept “Satyagraha” is a conflict resolution technique. According to “conflict resolution and Gandhian ethic”: behavior leads to conflicts either productive or destructive. ‘Satyagraha’ is a non-violent way to address a conflict. It refers to the conflict resolution technique. (Weber, 1991)

Conflict resolution theory has four major stages of the evolution of contemporary conflict resolution. (Kriesberg, The Sage Handbook of Conflict Resolution, 2009, p. 17)

1. Preliminary development 1914-
2. Laying the groundwork 1946-
3. Expansion and institutionalization 1970-
4. Diffusion and differentiation since 1989

Many societal developments could be seen at the beginning of the period of the First World War to the end of the outbreak of the Second World War. In that period, there were precursors for contemporary conflict resolution. There were many attempts to find out a new way to end the conflicts.

In between 1946-1969 was an important stage of development in the conflict resolution arena. During this period, many third world countries got independence and the Second World War ended. During this period Mohandas Gandhi’s “Satyagraha” played an important role. During the groundwork stage of evolution, many researchers of several countries all over the world began many researches related to peace. Some academics began to apply their conflict resolution ideas to the ongoing conflict. Within this period, conflict resolution networks could be seen in the form of national and international associations. (Kriesberg, The Sage Hand book of Conflict Resolution, 2009)

The period of rapid conflict resolution expansion and institutionalization began in the 1970s. The civil rights struggleof women, students, environment, and other social movements all over the world affected to theevolution of the field ofconflict resolving. The field of conflict resolution rapidly developed by the great increase in a variety of conflict resolution practices in the United States. The productive US mediation and emergence of the NGOs helped the evolution of conflict resolution in advance. There are famous figures and their problem-solving workshops conspicuous in that period such as John W. Brutan, Leonard Doob, Herbert C. Kelman, Edward E. Azar, Ronald J. Fisher, etc. There was an increasing in writing about negotiation and mediation.

1990-2008 period remarked the end of the cold war and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Many conflicts happenedduring this period; especially including ethnic conflicts within countries. September 11, 2001 attack carried out by Al-Qaeda terrorist group against the USA marked a new world system in terrorist attack and violence. However, during those stages, the subject of conflict resolution was developed and the contemporary issues all over the countries and attempts to resolve them lead towards the expansion of this subject.

(Kilmann & Thomas, 2018) In this research, Thomas Kilmann introduced a conflict mode instrument. He introduced five methods of dealing with conflict by assessing an individual’s behavior in conflict situations. Moreover, he describes a person’s behavior along two basic dimensions.

1. Assertiveness
2. Cooperativeness

Thomas Kilmann presented five methods to deal with a conflict,

1. Competing
2. Collaborating
3. Compromising
4. Avoiding
5. Accommodating

(Kriesberg & Neu, 2017) This research describes how conflict analysis and resolution field have developed. This article focuses on the development of the conflict analysis-resolving field as an interdisciplinary social science. According to this article, there are five major periods in conflict resolution evolution.

1. Development of the field and its preliminary beginning from 1914 to
2. The emergence of conflict analysis resolution as a field between 1946 and
3. Expansion and institutionalization from 1970-
4. Diffusion and differentiation from 1990-
5. Advances and challenges 2009 through

Conflict resolution is a mechanism that addresses conflict and the peace making process in a peaceful manner. Therefore, in the contemporary global arena conflict resolution has a greater importance.

(Madalinaa, 2016) This article describes that conflict cannot be resolved without understanding the causes of conflict.

Conflict resolution reaches a solution by avoiding the destructive behavior of the conflict affected parties.

Generally, there are five conflict resolution approaches as,

1. Conflict prevention
2. Conflict settlement
3. Conflict resolution
4. Conflict management
5. Conflict transformation

However, the final aim of the conflict resolution is to provide sustainable solutions to the conflicted parties. Conflict resolution is a process that tries to address those conflicts in a peaceful way. By using conflict resolution approaches, it seeks to build new and lasting relationships among hostile groups. Digana, Sinhala–Muslim conflict is the newest phase of ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka because Sri Lanka experienced 30 years of war with the LTTE terrorists and could overcome the ethnic problem between the Tamil and Sinhala communities. Therefore, this phase of ethnic conflict between the Tamil and Sinhala communities changed with the end of the civil war. However, due to the incident of Digana; the Sinhala — Muslim riot raised unrest of both communities. This incident was based on an argument between a truck driver who belongs to the Sinhala ethnicity and a three-wheeler who belonged to the Muslim community. In this incident, the truck driver died. This incident led to an intergroup conflict between the Sinhala and Muslim ethnicity. This incident caused loss of properties and the life of a young man. The study focuses on how to analyze this incident and the process of conflict resolution approaches.

This research will analyze the conflict resolution approaches by referring to the Digana Sinhala Muslim conflict. This study specially investigates how the conflict resolution process happened related to this incident, what are the methods that used to address the conflict and how the conflict resolution impact upon the people’s behavior. The first chapter of the research tries to discuss the topic in detail by providing an overview about the research.

1.2 Research problem

Conflicts influence on the social, economic and political life of the people. Therefore, resolving conflict is very important to continue people’s life smoothly. However, this particular conflict resolution may help to give sustainable solutions to the conflicted parties. This research is based on the conflict resolving mechanisms based on Sinhala Muslim conflict in Digana. In the study, it focuses to examine fruitfulness of conflict resolving mechanisms in post conflict context. This study is related to Digana incident. Moreover, it will analyze the feasibility of conflict resolution mechanisms to address a conflict.

1.3 Research questions

Conflict resolution is an outcome of several attempts to end a conflict. Conflict resolution has mainly five approaches. In this study, it tries to analyze the conflict resolution approaches that can be able to address a conflict constructively. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each approach when addressing a conflict? What is the impact of conflict resolution approaches upon the people’s behavior?

1.4. Research objectives

Main objective

Examine the fruitfulness of conflict resolution mechanisms in a post conflict context.

Sub objectives

1. Examine for the conflict resolution approaches that can be able to address a conflict constructively rather than destructive.
2. Identify the impact of conflict resolution upon the people’s behavior.
3. To study strengthens and weaknesses of conflict resolution.

1.5 Hypothesis

2. Weaknesses of conflict prevention approach which causes the conflict to become destructive.
3. Conflict resolution positively changes the people’s behavior.

1.6 Methodology

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Developed by Author, 2020

There are two types of sampling.

1. Non-probability sampling
2. Probability sampling

(Kothari C.R)

Primary data were collected by using both probability sampling and none probability sampling techniques. Primary data were collected by using interviews, questionnaires. Questionnaires are comprisedof both close ended and open-ended questions for the collection of both quantitative data and qualitative data. Interviews are semi structured. For the questionnaires and the interviews, sample will be selected using the probability sampling method. Sample size will determine as 103, based on the population of the study area by using the ‘sample size calculator’. Therefore, sample size will be 103 for the collection of quantitative data.

Non- governmental organizations’ activists, government officers and religious leaders will be selected for the interviews. Sample will be selected under the non-probability sampling method/ purposive sampling for interviews.

Secondary data were collected by using Journal articles, Books, Newspapers, Reports and Magazines. Government and non-government organizations’ reports, magazines, articles and researches will be used as secondary data. Both quantitative and qualitative data will be analyzed by the SPSS software.A mix method is usedto collect data and to analyze the data.

1.7 Importance of the study

Theoretical importance of this study is based upon the study about conflict resolution theory. Exploratory and descriptive analysis based on the conflict resolution theory is used in this study. It attempts to analyze conflict resolution theory in the practical world. This study aims to fill the gap in researches related to the conflict resolution area. There are fewer researches as secondary sources, which are related to the conflict resolution in Digana incident. Therefore, this study will be very useful as a secondary source. Moreover, this study generates new knowledge related to conflict resolving study area. This study will construct an important contribution to the existing literature related to the conflict resolution.

1.8 Limitations

1. Language barriers — the study population includes Muslim people who speak Tamil language. The Study area is the Rajawella North Grama Niladhari division in Kundasale Divisional Secretariat in Kandy district. This Grama Niladhari division comprises of multi ethnic groups. This conflict occurred between Sinhala and Muslim people. Therefore, language becomes a barrier.
2. The study is only related to the Digana incident. However, the root causes spread all over the country. This incident is a result of several minor incidents all over the country. However, this particular study is only related to the Digana incident.
3. Time and contemporary social issues. Limited time period and contemporary health issues may influence on the research.


Literature review

2.1.1. Introduction

Under this chapter, the literature which is related to the research topic will be discussed. It describes the theoretical, empirical, and methodological literature articles. Moreover, this chapter analyzes the research articles under the keywords, conflict, conflict resolution, and conflict resolution approaches. This study includes literature related to the definitions, which would be: historical background of the conflict resolution, and case studies related to the topic. Also in this chapter, several articles related to conflict resolution has been reviewed.

2.1.2. Concept of conflict

The concept of conflict is an important sub-topic in this study. There should be a proper understanding of the concept of conflict to resolve a conflict successfully. Therefore, under this sub-topic, the concept of conflict has been reviewed. Johan Galtung’s conflict triangle plays an important role in the concept of conflict. It describes that the concept of conflict can be understood by the implementation of three corners. (Cooper, 2008), “What is a conflict? How are conflicts resolved?” is an important research article related to the proper understanding of the concept of conflict.

According to the article,

“Conflict occurs when the interests of one party come by accident or design into engagement with those of another or others”.

(Cooper, 2008, p. 85)

Conflict can involve of opposite ideas, sentiments, attitudes, and feelings and it can be seen, described, and analyzed by using many different ways. Also, it described that there are few single-issue conflicts because most of the conflicts have complex causes and development. On the other hand, often there is no central issue for conflict. Thus there is only an accumulation of issues. A conflict outlasts and it may linger for generations till the successful implementation of a readjustment or realignment of forces.

Also (Tjosvold, 2006) on “ Defining conflict and making choices about its management” describes the concept of conflict. This study aims to investigate the definitions of conflict and it argues that conflict is not always destructive. In this article, the author argues that scholars have not paid sufficient attention to define the conflict because of that, conflict has mistakenly perceived as destructive and negative. Moreover, the author describes that we have not gained sufficient conflict knowledge and it is still developing. Also, people in daily life must deal with conflicts. Especially lack of attention to define conflict and belief on confused definitions causes to frustrate the research progress and professional practice. The finding of the research is, although some people have a broader idea of what the term conflict means, the majority of the people use a common definition to define the negative and destruction of the conflict.

“Theories of conflict” by Galtung (Galtung, 1958) is also an important study related to the conflict. John Galtung’s theories of conflict book is based on the lectures given by him in several universities. In this book, he defines conflict and discusses the dimensions, negation as well as the causes for the formation of conflicts.

According to the author,

“Conflict is a social system of actors within compatibility between their goal-states”.

(Galtung, 1958, p.35)

This book gives a brief note about the phases of conflict.

Phases of conflict

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Galtung, 1958, p. 38)

Also, this book describes the famous ABC triangle of John Galtung. In this model, the conflict has been defined which is based on attitudinal and behavioral contradictions and incompatibilities.

Conflict triangle

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Galtung,1958, p.105)

(Thakore, 2013) has done a research article under the topic of “Conflict and conflict management”. This research article covers mainly the concept of conflict, sources of conflict, and conflict resolution models. It emphasizes that conflict is an outcome of behaviors. He discusses four types of conflicts.He emphasizes that there are new more effective ways of managing a conflict by building a conflict resolution model.

2.1.3. Define conflict resolution

Under this sub-topic, it discusses the definitions of conflict resolution andit analyzes how other scholars have defined conflict resolution.

“Conflict Resolution as a Political System” is an important study done by (Burton, 1988). In this book, it defines conflict resolution as cloture the conflict by methods that are analytical and that get to the root of the problem. It describes conflict resolution as opposed to the meaning conflict resolution is mere “management” or “settlement”. It is a permanent solution to the problem. In this working paper, it describes the conflict resolution aims not merely to resolve the immediate social conflict. It seeks to get the sources of the problem. Otherwise, conflict resolution contributes to the elimination of conflict sources and the prevention of other instances of conflict. Simply, conflict resolution is the analytical problem-solving.

According to this article, (Burton, 1988) “Conflict Resolution among Peaceful Societies: The Culture of Peacefulness” it has described that conflict resolution does not have a common standard of conflict resolution strategies. The 24 peaceful societies use a variety of methods to control, prevent, and resolve conflict resolution. In this article, it is listed into six strategies of conflict resolution.

1. Self-restrain
2. Negotiation
3. Separation
4. Intervention
5. Meetings
6. Humor

According to that article, westerners often view conflict as a normal and productive one. They avoid all types of conflicts if they possibly can, and if they cannot they almost always resolve them quickly and nonviolently other than seeing them as destructive and harmful. Conflict resolution in peaceful societies is based on the assumption about human relations and social patterns which differ from those of modern societies. The peaceful people inspire a vision of a potentially peaceful world through understanding successful conflict resolution. Howsoever, in this article, it is pointed out that punishments and armed conflicts are not essential to keepthe peace. Also, it is highlighted that the sense of peacefulness of peopleis what inspires the successful conflict resolution.

(Beriker, 2015)“The Conflict Resolution Field: Reflections on Multiple Realities, Challenges and Geographical Divides” is another important research which has defined the conflict resolution. This research article offers insight to what comprises of conflict resolution and discusses some unique challenges in the field. Especially this paper addresses the issues related to the different applications of conflict resolution multiple in geographies by looking at US and European practices. According to this article, institutionalization of the conflict and resolution field was started in early 2000 in Turkey mainly in academia. The conflict resolution development field took different forms in multiple venues.

Moreover, this article emphasizes that practitioners of conflict resolution alternatively as agents of change and peace lovers. Also, conflict resolution rapidly develops and increasingly contributes to knowledge production and it tries to find a nonviolent solution to the conflict.

(Wani, 2011) has written an article related to the “Understanding Conflict Resolution” and this research article discusses about the conflict resolution. Here it describes conflict resolution as a mechanism of peacebuilding. Also, it emphasizes the ability to play the role of conflict resolution to create awareness among people in the world which will assist to build up a peaceful world. This article discusses the conflict resolution mechanism and the adoption as a check or prevention over conflict and peace. Also, it emphasizes on the importance of conflict and peace could be maintained without following the way of violence. This article point out that the qualification of conflict resolution can enhance our opportunities and provide capabilities for the public and private sector. Further the author says that conflict resolution is a weapon that is prevented from onslaught a scourge of war for generations.

(Cohen, 2018)has written an article related to the “Conflict Resolution” and this article was done by Tay R. Cohen and this is related to the conflict resolution. The article emphasizes on the importance of implementation strategies that promotes cooperation to resolve or managing conflict.

(Kriesberg & Neu, 2017)has written an article related to the “Conflict Analysis and Resolution: Development of the Field” and this research article is focused on analyzing the causes of violent conflicts. The authors have examined the psychoanalytic tools. The research is focused on nonviolent means of solving conflict and the way to transform conflicts constructively. Also, the cost of failing to prevent destructive conflict is enormous and increasing.

2.1.4. Historical background of the conflict resolution

The concept of conflict resolution has a long historical evolution. Under this sub-topic, it describes the historical background of the conflict resolution discipline. It emerged after the cold war period and contemporary political, economic, and social changes have influenced on the rapid expansion of the discipline.

According to the (Babbitt, 2009) on “The Evolution of International Conflict Resolution: From Cold War to Peace building”, conflict resolution is not a sudden concept. It has a long evolution period. Eileen F. Babbitt has written an article about the evolution of conflict resolution. This article describes that the conflict resolution field evolved significantly throughout the latter years of the twentieth century and continues to be a redefined subject. This article presents a brief overview of trends and the important junctures of the development of the subject. The end of the cold war is an important juncture of the international conflict resolution field. Space was created at the end of the cold war marked by three trends.

1. Expansion from a focus on superpower negotiating strategies to a wider peace building agenda
2. An increase in the role of nongovernmental actors as both disputants and third parties in international conflicts
3. A growing concern about human security in addition to state security, creating both tensions and opportunities for collaboration between governmental and non-governmental bodies.

(Babbitt, 2009, p. 540)

The conflict Resolution field came of age in the 1990s and it expanded after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991 and the end of the Cold War.

However, trends in Conflict Resolution reflect the significant ways in which changing political dynamics affect the scope of conflict resolution theory and practice to evolve. (Tanabe, 1991) “Examining history and evolution of contemporary conflict resolution” also a research article on conflict resolution history and evolution clearly describes the evolution of the contemporary conflict resolution discipline. Kenneth Boulding, Johan Galtung, and John Burton are recognized as one of the most significant figures in conflict resolution as their commitment assisted to the development of the field of conflict resolution. However, according to the article in Burton’s problem -solving conflict resolution, the role of the third parties is different from traditional arbitrators, mediators, or negotiators. Peace research and conflict resolution had been established during the period of 1950s and 1960s. After that 1970s and 1980s also remarked a special era of the conflict resolution field. That era showed further elaboration of conflict resolution. Edward Azar made a significant contribution to conflict resolution. The concept of protracted social conflict and the contribution of social psychology to conflict resolution are significant. The particularity of conflict resolution in the 1990s onwards has been the self-reflective critique of conflict resolution approaches in previous eras because by this period, conflict resolution could achieve sufficient standing and substance to become self-critical.

According to Hugh, Oliver and Tom conflict resolution is a discipline that emerged in the age of the post-cold war era. According to them, conflict resolution started in the 1950s and 1960s at the height of the cold war. Development of the nuclear weapons and the conflict between super-powered seemed to threaten human survival. Therefore, a group of pioneers from different disciplines saw the value of studying conflict resolution as a general phenomenon. Conflict resolution subject began to grow and spread. The journals related to conflict resolution were created, institutions were established and the number of such institutions were expanded. International crises, internal wars, social conflicts, and approaches ranging from negotiations and mediation to experimental games developed as the subdivisions of the field. In this book, they argue that conflict resolution has a role to play, even in war zones. In conflict resolution, building the peace constituencies and understandings across divided communities are essential elements of humanitarian engagement. Conflict resolution is an integral part of work for development, social justice, and social transformation. In this book they describe that conflict resolution itself is changing and developing as it should deal with the changing nature of the conflict. The main purpose is to generate an understanding of contemporary conflicts and to indicate how the practice and thinking of contemporary conflict resolution changes in response. (Miall, et al, nd)

(Katz, 2011) has written an article related to the “Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies” and this research article explores the key sources and the reasons for the rapid growth of conflict resolution programs in higher education in the United States. This article describes the peace studies and conflict resolution. The conflict resolution theory and the practice old as humankind and the formal study of this discipline started a decade ago. The emergence of peace and conflict studies is a source of academic training in conflict resolution. Also this article discusses the benefits of academic work in conflict resolution and the relationship of conflict resolution to peace studies. It emphasizes that a strong conflict resolution component in a peace study program can help students to respond to their own needs as well as to address urgent international problems that can be seen today.

2.1.5. Conflict resolution approaches

The way someone uses to address a conflict is the most important point of resolving a conflict. However, there are several approaches to address a conflict. Scholars have mentioned several conflict resolution approaches.

(Bercovitch & Jackson, 2009) Have researched “Conflict Resolution in the Twenty-First Century”. This book describes the approaches to conflict resolution. Traditional conflict resolution approaches used in the period after the cold war was rendered largely ineffective. The scholars have focused on various approaches that are previously neglected with the changes in the world Such as diplomacy, problem-solving workshops, peace building, and conflict prevention measures. Some of the tools are considered be old yet these have become more important than ever. Such as negotiation and mediation. Those are being applied in innovative ways to new types of conflicts. These approaches focus on how to resolve deep-seated and structural issues and they involve as many non-official actors as to resolve the conflict. According to the author, new approaches to conflict resolution do not aim to just end the cessation of violent behavior yet the establishment of new forms of interactions. Scholars like Kelman, Saunders, Azar, Burton, and Doob have developed problem-solving workshops and introduced the idea of conflict transformation. Also, in this book, it mentions another approach to conflict resolution namely “themulti-dimensional approach’’. This approach presupposes a universally agreed normative and cultural basis for peace. This approach aims to end conflict replicate and it assumes interventionist practices are properly supported. In the case of internal conflict, the multidimensional approach is better equipped with the relevant resolution to the conflict.

(Bao, et al, 2016) This research is based on the Interpersonal Conflict and Solution Strategies. In this study, it analyses the interpersonal conflicts in the society. It defines interpersonal Conflict. This work aims to promote some interpersonal communication skills as it would be effective for the resolution of a conflict. It defines the interpersonal conflict as,

“An interaction of interdependent people who sense disagreement and opposing interests, incompatibility and the possibility of interference, and negative emotion from others”.

(Bao, et al, 2016, p. 542)

According to the article, the result of the conflict depends on the way it solves and different ways that are used by people to deal with the conflicts. However, the author presents some methods in life skills to deal with interpersonal conflict. Such as,

1. Treat others respectfully
2. Set the right tone for the conversation
3. Active listening
4. Perspective talking
5. Avoid negative attributes
6. Solve conflicts when they are small

Therefore, it emphasizes that if we work and resolve conflicts effectively, we can develop the satisfaction and productivity of our social relationships.

(Rexford, 2007) This study is based on conflict and conflict resolution theory and practice. It is important to review that because this study concludes the army’s concept of theory, conflict, and conflict resolution. The research applied the foundational understanding of theory concerning the conflict and conflict resolution compared to the army publications. The research concluded that the Army’s concept of theory, conflict, and conflict resolution are deficient compared to the field of theory, peace studies, and conflict resolution. Army’s approach to develop its doctrine differs from policy and practices in the conflict resolution field. The recommendations of the research are, the army should reevaluate and expand its definition of conflict. Also, the Army must develop its understanding of conflict at all levels through that it should expand its coverage of conflict resolution.

(Kodikal, 2014) have done a research related to the “Conflict Management Strategies — A Comparative Analysis of the Employees Working for Service Sectors”. In this research, they pointed out conflict is a part of human life and it is inevitable in working with organizations. For the success of an organization, there should be a process of conflict management. In this paper, the authors proposed to discuss various dimensions of managing conflict and their resolution method. This is a comparative study of how conflicts manage in the manufacturing sector and the service sector. The authors have adopted the questionnaire method to generate basic data. Further, in this study, they pointed out there is no uniform method to resolve conflicts. The authors conclude through the analysis that more than 50% of the journalist preferred a “collaborative strategy” to resolve conflict.

(Kilmann & Thomas, 2018) “Thomas-Kilmann conflict MODE instrument” Thomas and Kilmann have presented a conflict mode instrument. Kilmann’s conflict-handling modes includes five methods for dealing with a conflict. In this article, he emphasizes the basic two dimensions such as assertiveness and cooperativeness. Also, he presented a TKI profile to find out the most frequently used conflict mode. By interpreting the score in this TKI profile, it assists to judge which mode is appropriate to your situation by using the five modes.

2.1.6. Conflict resolution and practical background

This part analyzes the research article related to the practical background of the conflict resolution. In this subsection, some articles are reviewed that are done by the scholars under the conflict resolution keyword.

(Kiralp, et al, 2009) This research focuses on conflict resolution strategies of youth who experiences rapid development in technical and social areas of life along the way being mature individuals. The study analyses the contribution of learning conflict resolution skills to the production of more constructive, happy, and self-sufficient individuals. This research aims to determine the conflict resolution strategies which are used by university students in their interpersonal conflicts. The study has pointed out two basic dimensions.

1. To determine the rank order of the strategies that students use in each type of relationship.
2. To determine the relationship type which is frequently used with each strategy.

The sample of the study was limited to the Faculty of Educational Sciences students at the Eastern Mediterranean University in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). About 200 students from the Faculty of Education studying during the 2007-2008 academic year selected as the sample size.

A research article by (Kraft, et al, 2018), “Conflict resolution management in the knowledge-based classroom” was done by three authors. This study is focused on analyzing important aspects of conflict resolution in the specific environment of the knowledge-based classroom. This paper shows how important being aware of the sources and the reasons for the disputes that may occur in a classroom and how easily itcan be transformed into a conflict. The authors describe the powers of a teacher’s position within the classroom framework and the importance of the role of a mediator. In such a situation teacher has to turn into a supposedly skillful mediator able to handle conflict situations from a minor dispute to a major conflict. Also, the teacher should be able to identify the different roles played by students and especially how toperforma negotiating process.

According to the study, it emphasizes that the conflicts which occur in an academic environment can be two types,

1. Intrapersonal conflict
2. Interpersonal conflict

The literature dedicated to conflict resolution management identifies five types of conflict handling models. Such as,

1. Prevention of conflict
2. Avoidance of conflict
3. Compromise
4. Dominance and submission
5. Conflict resolution

However, careful observation, awareness-raising questions, open discussions, team building activities can be used to ensure a better chance of success for any course by the teacher.

(Talmaciu & Maracine, 2010) This study is based on sources of conflicts and methods of conflict resolution. This study focuses on how to analyze conflict sources and methods of conflict resolution in an organization. In this article, they stated that there is no organization without conflicts and there is no social group without conflicts. This study aims to identify the modality in which conflicts are born and present various strategies of conflict resolution by analyzing the conflicts at the organizational level. According to the article, there are a few methods of conflict settlement.

1. Avoidance
2. Collaboration
3. Competition
4. Compromise
5. Adjustment

According to the author, except for these major ways, there are two more strategies other than what the scholars argue.

1. Ignoring the conflict
2. Tolerance of the conflict

However, the findings of the research are that decrease in labor productivity because of conflicts may even reach up to 50%, with additional costs for the company. Also, another important finding is managers’ 42% of the time is dedicated to solve conflicts in the organization. However, the collaboration between employees cannot be perfectly controllable at all times.

(Madalina, 2016) “Conflict Management, a new challenge”. This article is related to conflict management. This article discusses the issues related to the management of a conflict in the working environment. Also, this article focuses on highlighting the role of communication in the conflict management process.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Madalina, 2016, p.810)

This article points out that conflict could have beneficial consequencesbut also it may becomedisastrous. Moreover, it discusses the importance of managers to identify their management arrangement.

2.1.7. Case studies

Under the following sub-topic, it analyzes the case studies related to the conflict resolution. There are several kinds of researches that are done by various scholars related to the conflict resolution by applying different conflict situations. Therefore, this part reviews the conflict resolution case studies done by scholars.

(Wang & Wu, 2020) “A Systematic Approach to Effective Conflict Management for Program” is a research done by Nannan Wang and Guobin Wu. It is a research related to conflict management within a program. According to the article, it analyzes how the internal conflict of a program affects the performance of the program team and the success of the program. This research contributes to the conflict literature by investigating the unique nature and solutions of conflict within the program team. The findings of the research reveal unique program conflict and their causes and impacts and suggest the principles and alternative resolution strategies for the conflict in the program. In this research, it provides a model which has a systematic view of the learning cycle of program conflict management, including conflict identification, resolution, feedback, and prevention. Literature review, project document review, inter-view survey, and case study were contributed in order to build up the case of the research.

Also (Coppieters, et al, 2004) is another case study related to the European periphery. This study focuses on how to analyze conflict resolution of several conflicts within the European periphery. This book is related to conflict resolution and it is a case study from the European periphery. It analyzes the relevance of the process of Europeanization for the settlement of four case studies in the European periphery.

1. Cyprus
2. Serbia and Montenegro
3. Georgia – Abkhazia
4. Moldova – Transnistria

In this volume, it analyzes how EU integration policies and multi-tier governance structures could support to these unresolved secessionist conflicts. EU has made considerable use of federal models within a multi-tiered EU setting for divided Cyprus. It has been divided since 1974. In the case of Montenegro and Serbia, the EU adopted a federal union constitution. It did under the strong pressure of the EU and the survival of new state unions is uncertain. In Moldova also there are competing proposals for federalization sponsored by the OSCE and Russian federation. Abkhazia was divided from Georgia after the war of 1992-1993. Since that day it has been de facto independent.The UN still failed to resolve the matter of its political status. The third party intervention could be identified in all these secessionist conflicts. This book explores the attempts of the EU to bring about conflict settlement and conflict resolution through its multi-level framework and capacity for foreign policy action. EU tries to bring these changes to divided states on its periphery. The third level of government provides the new institutional options and chance to redefine the interests and identities of the conflict parties involved in the secessionist conflict.

There is another important research done in Croatia, (Ilecic & Kadoic, 2017)

“Conflict Resolution and Decision Making”. This paper brings three case studies of big size organizations from Croatia. The research topic is “Conflict Resolution and Decision Making in Big-Size Organizations, Three Case Studies from Croatia”. The theoretical background of this research is related to the conflict resolution subject area. In this research, the authors have to study two enterprises and one school. The primary data collection method was an interview. The primary goal of the research paper is to determine how conflicts are managed in a large organization in Croatia. This paper categorizes the conflict as intrapersonal conflict, interpersonal conflict and intergroup conflict. Also, it finds out the positive side of the conflict.

- New problems identification
- Deeper problem analysis
- Finding better solutions to problems
- Prevent stagnation of organization
- Encourage curiosity of employees
- Encouraging positive changes
- Individual/personal and group development

(Ilecic & Kadoic, 2017, p. 96)

In this article, the authors have divided the conflict resolution outcome based on three categories. As

1. Win-win outcome
2. Win-lose outcome and
3. Lose-lose outcome

(Ilecic & Kadoic, 2017, p. 97)

This research is related to the conflict resolution in decision making in three Croatian large scale organizations. In this study they have found out most often conflicts are interpersonal conflicts in large scale organizations. Also, this interpersonal conflict appears regularly. In terms of conflict resolution, compromise is the most used strategy in these organizations.

2.2. Theoretical framework

2.2.1. Introduction

In this sub-topic, it discusses the definitions, approaches, theories, and functions of conflict resolution. This research is based on Morton Deutsch’s theory of cooperation and competition. Also, this section describes the conflict resolution process in two countries. For analyzing the practical usage of conflict resolution two countries were selected as India and USA. India is a multi - ethnic country that has a multi - cultural society. USA is an individualistic cultural country.

2.2.2. Definitions

Conflict resolution addresses root causes of the conflict and finds out a sustainable solution for both conflict parties. Therefore, conflict resolution aims to give a win-win solution to both parties.

According to the (Avruch, 1998), “Any strategy that brings a socially visible or public episode of conflict (a dispute) to an end”. (Avruch, 1998, p. 25)

In his book, he defines conflict resolution as a strategy that aims to end the conflict or dispute. Also, “Resolution aims somehow to get to the root causes of a conflict and not merely to treat its episodic or symptomatic manifestation that is a particular dispute”. (Avruch, 1998, p. 26)

According to John Paul Lederach, the term conflict resolution has already too much “management” and “settlement” semantic baggage associated with it (on the problem of baggage, pace culture), wants to abandon the term in favor of “conflict transformation”. (Avruch, 1998, p. 27)

According to Schellenberg, conflict resolution is “any marked reduction in social conflict”. (Schellenberg, 1996, p.15)

According to (Oxford Reference), “The methods and process of negotiation, arbitration, and institution building which promote the peaceful ending of social conflict and war”. Oxford dictionary mentions that conflict resolution is a method and process and it promotes the peaceful ending for a conflict.

“Conflict resolution is an umbrella term for a whole range of methods and approaches in dealing with conflict: from negotiation to diplomacy, from mediation to arbitration, from facilitation to adjudication, from conciliation to conflict prevention, from conflict management to conflict transformation, from restorative justice to peacekeeping”. (Wani, 2011, p. 105)

According to Thakore’s article, conflict resolution refers to deal with conflict or removing the cause of the conflict. (Thakore, 2013)

Also, there is another definition by (Katz & McNulty, 1994, p.9) “Conflict resolution is a process of managing conflict and negotiating a solution”.

2.2.3. Conflict resolution approaches

This sub-topic explores the various ways of conflict resolution approaches. The strategies are the most important components of conflict resolution. The way of addressing a conflict may provide a way to resolve a conflict.

According to (Weber, 1991), the book “Conflict Resolution and Gandhian ethics” describes Gandhi’s ‘Satyagraha’ movement. ‘Satyagraha’ is a nonviolent way of conflict resolution. However, in this book, it describes the conflict, conflict resolution, and specifically practical implication of the ‘Satyagraha’. Also, it mentions a few ways of resolving or dealing with a conflict such as:

1. Coercion
2. ‘Lumping it’ and avoidance
3. Mediation, arbitration, adjudication
4. Negotiation

According to Weber, Gandhi was willing to have peaceful interrelationships with each other, and if there is any conflict it should resolve in a nonviolent way.

(Stevens, n.d.) They have researched the theme of “conflict resolution strategies in an academic setting”. They have discussed the confrontation issues in higher education. In this article, they reviewed that, there are two major sources of conflict as ideological and real. Further, they discuss that ideological conflicts are the most difficult conflict to resolve. Real conflicts arise in working relationships continuously. Further in this study, they pointed out there are five possible strategies that are available for dealing with conflicts as,

1. Avoidance strategy
2. Competing strategy
3. Accommodating strategy
4. Compromising strategy
5. Collaborating strategy

1. Avoidance strategy
This involves minimum interactions with the other conflict party. This strategy behaves as if there is no conflict in existence. Also, conflicted parties avoid the conversation and discussion of the conflict.
(Huan & Yazdanifard, 2012) this article describes avoidance of strategy. In this style, people always try to stay away from the conflict. Especially people tend to ignore the conflictin this strategy. Avoiding style is prevalent in East Asian culture and Chinese culture in terms of maintaining a harmonious situation.
2. Competing strategy
According to this method competing strategy forces to the other conflict party to accept his/ her approach to resolve the conflict. In this style users of a competing want to gain what they want and create equivalent losses for the opposite party. (Stevens, n.d.)
The similar strategy is discussed in the article (Huan & Yazdanifard, 2012). Forcing style is when one uses aggressive behavior to resolve conflict and they force the opposite party to achieve their goal.
3. Accommodating strategy
In this strategy, the relationship is maintained by the parties. The disadvantagein this style is that more effective ideas may not be used. Also, misuse of the strategy may lead to the loss of the relationship that is tried to maintain by the users. (Huan & Yazdanifard, 2012)
According to (Stevens, n.d.), accommodating strategy is the other end of the competing strategy. In this strategy, users are willing to lose and they accept the other party’s achievement or let them gain.
4. Compromising strategy
(Ozyildirim & Kayikci, 2017) In this strategy, there isno victory or lose. Both sides have to give up something and at the same time, both sides gain some advantages. Therefore, compromising is a result of the management strategy.
5. Collaborating strategy

(Stevens, n.d.) In this strategy users attempt to identify a solution by themselves. In this strategy, both parties gain and no one loses. Especially collaborators identify that total gains are greater than total losses in this method.


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Sinhala-Muslim conflict in Sri Lanka. The conflict resolution approaches in Digana
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Sinhala- Muslim conflict, Conflict Resolution, Digana, Sri Lanka
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Aruna Jayathilaka (Author), 2020, Sinhala-Muslim conflict in Sri Lanka. The conflict resolution approaches in Digana, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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