Workplace conflict has become one of the most common issues that arise in many organisations today especially considering that individuals are increasingly being required to work in teams in order to achieve different objectives for their organisations (Esquivel & Kleiner 1997, p.89). Therefore, effective communication skills have become essential for the purpose of resolving conflicts in the workplace because they make it possible for those individuals who have differences to work them out constructively. Moreover, effective communication makes conflict resolution more efficient because individuals in the workplace have a means of making sure that the conflicts between then do not get out of hand.
Conflict resolution has developed into a discipline that has a diverse number of theories designed to deal with the various conflicts that arise in the workplace. Most conflict resolution theories are aimed at ensuring that conflicts are resolved in as peaceful a manner possible. One of the most important theories of conflict resolution is the cooperative model which was developed by Morton Deutsch. This model aims at resolving conflict through encouraging cooperation between the opposing parties (Amazon & Shweiger 1997, p.101). Under this theory, it is essential for the aims and the nature of the dispute to be carefully analysed during negotiations in the attempt to resolve the conflict. According to Deutsch, there are two main orientations that result in conflict and its resolution and these are cooperation and competition (Deutsch 1999, p.5). The cooperative disposition of the parties involved in the conflict would eventually result in an atmosphere of trust in such a way that both parties would be willing to develop beneficial options for settlement.