Free Paper Example: Conflict/Negotiation Communication in a Public Setting

Published: 2022-08-01
Free Paper Example: Conflict/Negotiation Communication in a Public Setting
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Communication Conflict management
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1181 words
10 min read

Communication is critical during any form of conflict resolution, including in the public setting. It is the channel used by the conflicting parties to mention what they really want so as to avert the conflict. In some cases, conflict emerges because of unclear demands by one party. However, in other situations, the demands are clearly known by both parties, but none of them is willing to yield. Therefore, the process of conflict resolution involves clearly stating the demands so that the best decision that is convenient for both parties is arrived at. Communication during conflict resolution especially in the public setting is influenced by issues such as culture and politics among others (MSG, n.d.). This paper will use the North Korea versus South Korea conflict to analyze the issue of conflict/negotiation communication in a public setting.

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North Korea and South Korea were one country about a century ago. However, due to political reasons, war broke out between in the two regions leading to a division of the country into two. A Korean Demilitarized Zone was created and acted as a border for separating the two countries. A conflict between the two nations emerged in 1966 when military officers from the two countries invaded the demilitarized zone and began clashes. Since then, the two countries have been in conflict. There has not been a resolution for this conflict for more than six decades (Shonk, 2016).

Several instances have escalated the conflict between the two countries and have risked the crisis reaching a breaking point. One of the remarkable intensifications of the conflict occurred in 2015. In this particular case, South Korea accused its neighbor, North Korea of secretly implanting a land mine in their soil which exploded and caused serious injuries to two of their border guards. In retaliation, South Korea used one of their old tactics to irritate the North Koreans. They decided to blare propaganda to their enemies by using speakers that were aligned on the border (Shonk, 2016).

The tactic achieved its goal. North Korea declared that the behavior displayed by their enemies was like an act of war. Thus, they made threats of taking a strong military action that would including blowing off the speakers if the South Koreans did not shut them off. The actions by the two countries escalated the dispute among them and thus, there was an urgent requirement for a serious commitment to solving the conflict.

In this scenario, it is evident that North Korea used the landmines to show its might. However, when the landmines succeeded in achieving the objective, the North Koreans did not bear the responsibility. Therefore, the South Koreans were left in speculation even though they decided to hit back. The conflict escalated because there is no clear communication on what the two countries required after the triggering event (Shonk, 2016).

The two nations began to exchange artillery fire until the two governments decided to hold emergency talks in a bid to resolve the conflict. Armed soldiers stood standby as two high-rank government officials from the two countries met on the border to try and solve the conflict. The meeting lasted for three days whereby, the officials from North Korea were reported to have taken frequent breaks to consult on the way forward from their president (Shonk, 2016).

The meeting at the border succeeding in revealing what the affected party demanded from the opponent. Park Geun-Hye who was the South Korean's President held that the loudspeakers aligned along the border would continue blaring the propaganda until North Korean President apologized for the incident caused by landmines. However, the conflict resolution process experienced a stalemate after the North Korean president refused to apologize. The two parties agreed to use a compromise strategy for resolution (Oetzel & Ting-Toomey, 2013). North Korea just agreed to express only regrets for the landmine incident instead of accepting the responsibility.

The meeting between the two leaders was crucial because it made clear the demand of the affected party. It also provided a channel for utilizing the resolution strategies to ensure that all the involved parties were comfortable with the decision. A formal framework of discussion is required especially when trying to resolve conflicts in the public setting.

In response to the South's acceptance to receive less than a full apology, North Korea allowed reunion of families that were separated by the Korean War. Also, the two neighbors agreed to meet in either of the two countries' capital cities to hold various discussions and negotiations meant to improve relations. Also, South Korea agreed to turn off their loudspeakers at the borders although they threatened to switch them on in case the North disrespected the agreement (Shonk, 2016).

The case indicates that for conflict resolution discussions, both parties must be willing to compromise on their demands. For instance, the demand from South Korea was a full apology from the North. However, North Korea was not willing to give a full apology. The country's leadership decided to accept a regrets statement which was a "half apology." In response, the North had to put something on the table as an appreciation for the compromise South Korea had made. Best conflict resolution strategies are associated with a win-win outcome (Oetzel & Ting-Toomey, 2013). Therefore, the involved parties must be willing to surrender some of their demands to ensure that such an outcome is realized.

The negotiation process also revealed some important attributes about the leaders which are important in their public service. For instance, Kim Jong-un, the inexperienced young leader of the North demonstrated authority, statesmanship, as well as admirable conflict resolution skills. Later, the leaders from the North revealed that they feigned distress from the South Koreans speakers' noise to drag them into talks. They claimed that the effectiveness of the tactic used by South was not proven to yield any fruits. Moreover, the compromise by the South Korean president was a way to suppress any form of criticism that the blared propagandas may have sparked tensions in the North.

The North and South Korea's conflict of 2015 is one of the cases that excellently presents the topic of conflict management in the public sector. The scenario enables us to understand than in conflict management or negotiations, statements or actions designed to express toughness may backfire to cause a series of activities that are difficult to control. Moreover, cautiously crafting and negotiating the language used in public statements is crucial in assisting the involved parties to save face (Shonk, 2016). It is also crucial to understand that the provocations advanced by the adversary may be intended to stimulate the conflict resolution process. In this situation, it is better to soften your position in addition to looking for new techniques for conflict management.


Management Study Guide; MSG. (n.d.). Role of Communication in Conflict Management. Retrieved from

Oetzel, J. G., & Ting-Toomey, S. (2013). The SAGE handbook of conflict communication. Los Angeles: Sage.

Shonk, K. (2016, February 11). The Two Koreas Practice Conflict Management - PON - Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. Retrieved from

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