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A sharpened sense of identity and solidarity

A need then is motivation and a belief is a choice expressed in behavior. Observing behavior by itself does not reveal whether it was motivated at the unconscious level by a need or a belief. Interests can be based on needs or beliefs. They represent what caused an individual to choose, either consciously or unconsciously, a particular solution or pursue a particular desired outcome. An individual’s position or outcome in a conflict is usually his or her initial best effort to find a solution to satisfy some underlying interests. Conflicts of needs grow out of differences in outcomes, person goals, and aspirations of interdependent parties in the presence of scarce resources. Two siblings desiring the same toy are experiencing a conflict of needs, as are organizations trying to reach the same market with their products or services. Conflict of beliefs grow out of differences in convictions or perceptions about reality among interdependent parties. Ideological conflict falls into this category where contention is rooted in perceived difference in convictions or beliefs, accompanied by strong feelings. Your beliefs, for example, may favor one direction of movement over another. Then again, differences may lie not in direction, but in the methods favored to reach the goal, where people have no interest other than defending their own belief system. To defend your own belief system without attacking another person’s is a difficult skill. All parties must focus on utilizing their differences in a common quest for a shared outcome and real solutions. Conflicts of needs often underlie conflicts of beliefs. In such cases, negotiation and problem solving are useful to resolve the situation. However, conflicts concerning belief cannot always be resolved and must be managed even though no negotiated solutions are appropriate.