Why Would You Choose a Career in Conflict Management and Resolution?
Michael A. “Mickey” Singer, American author, journalist, and motivational speaker climbed to fame with his two books, The Untethered Soul and The Surrender Experiment, both New York Times bestsellers. One of his major themes points out that “the only problem anyone has ever had is in their mind.”
We all carry opinions, beliefs, and perspectives that affect how we relate to the world, to situations, and to other people. Everyone believes in their own, and differing beliefs are literally the origin of all conflict in the world, whether it’s on an interpersonal level or something much larger.
Conflict is inherent — what one person (or group or nation) believes often conflicts with what others believe. Whether you look at Sunnis vs. Shias, Democrats vs. Republicans, or any groups that oppose one another, you’ll find that the root of conflict is buried in those learned beliefs and the differing beliefs between the competing groups.
People who decide to work in such a world to manage conflict and resolve problems are the heroes who can make the world a better place. So, if you enjoy the moniker of “hero,” choosing a career in the field might be just the step you’ll want to take.
How Are Conflict Management and Resolution Techniques Applied in Professional Settings?
After letting philosophical concepts fall aside, it remains clear that conflict is a baked-in aspect of human behavior. So, how does one work toward reducing conflict when working in a hospital, a government agency, a business, a school, a non-profit, or virtually any professional or interpersonal environment? Here are a few examples of skills that people in conflict management can use to optimize the positive outcomes that come from conflict while minimizing the damage it would otherwise cause.
Establish policies and procedures within organizations that value the input of each employee or team member, helping them achieve self-actualization and uplifting the organization. Those who work in this professional role could include human resources staff, managers and executives, a staff attorney, or any of several other career paths.
Successfully analyze and intervene in destructive conflict, helping parties involved create mutually acceptable paths toward resolution. When a specific point of conflict can be identified, people working in this fashion help the parties find a solution that is acceptable to each. People who play this role include law enforcement officers, mediators, arbitrators, and a host of others.
Communicate as mediators and facilitators, formulating thought-provoking questions as well as identifying and addressing root causes of frustration or concern. Professionals working in this role maximize the constructive potential of conflict and minimize its destructive and violent potential.
3 Examples of Careers in Conflict Resolution
Earning a degree in the conflict management field opens the door to nearly countless jobs and career paths. Here are just a few representative examples of undergrad degrees that directly complement a master’s in conflict management and that can lead to a productive and rewarding conflict resolution job.
Human Resources. A master’s degree in conflict management and resolution paired with an undergraduate degree in human resources can better prepare individuals to perform several traditional HR functions. For example, a deeper understanding of conflict dynamics could make settling a variety of employee disputes easier through the application of mediation or facilitation skills. It could also help efforts to build trust and more effective communication mechanisms between management and employees. Related to conflict studies, HR professionals often utilize an enhanced understanding of negotiation aids in hiring (salary negotiations, identifying individuals who may cause conflict, etc.) and promotions.
Career opportunities in this field include human resources supervisors and managers, employee relations specialists, intercultural conflict mediators and organizational management trainers. The average salary range for a human resources supervisor is between $77,000 and $105,000.
Business. On a daily basis, businesses negotiate with customers, partners, suppliers and regulatory agencies. In order to perform their jobs effectively, business professionals must be equipped with skills such as communication and negotiation, problem-solving and resolution, active listening, as well as the ability to identify common priorities and opportunities to achieve shared success. Further, the ability to manage conflict in a constructive manner is key to helping professionals from diverse backgrounds build consensus toward common goals.
Logical next career steps for someone with interests in both business and conflict management and resolution include customer success manager, account executive, product director, communication specialist, VP of partnerships, small business consultant and director of community and government relations. The salary for mid-level business professionals ranges from $60,000-$125,000 depending on the position.
Healthcare Administration or Management. Individuals with a degree in healthcare administration or healthcare management are equipped with a strong foundation of skills that pairs well with training in conflict management and resolution. These often include: communication and relationship management, good professional judgment, problem-solving, critical thinking and people skills, to name a few.
These experts are especially needed in public health work in a variety of settings such as hospitals and out-patient clinics or advocating for policy change in government. Within these settings, public health workers can specialize in their area of interest, including but not limited to structural and physical violence, counseling and social support, trauma therapy or information management for relief operations. Hospital administrators can make over $100,000 per year, while victim advocates make between $31,123 and $42,215 annually.
Many other undergrad degrees connect nicely with career opportunities in peace and conflict studies, and you may find your bachelor’s degree is a great jumping-off point to earning an advanced degree. Learn how 10+ undergraduate degrees can transition seamlessly into a career in conflict management and resolution when you download our resource.
The MS-CMR at the Kroc School Is Your Passport to a Fulfilling Career
With never-ending conflicts happening daily around the world, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace introduced the Master’s in Conflict Management and Resolution (MS-CMR) degree. Since its creation, it has been recognized as the third-best program in the nation for people who want to make a change.
We are so highly ranked because our professors continue to practice and update their teaching to meet the evolving conflict challenges of our world. For example:
Professor Phil Gamaghelyan’s ongoing work with memory, professor Ami Carpenter’s leadership against human trafficking, and Professor Topher McDougal’s focus on environmental justice place us at the forefront of managing conflicts that emerge from past trauma, economic instability, and the climate change crisis.
Additionally, the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice (KIPJ) has the mission of developing powerful, innovative approaches to end cycles of violence together with peacemakers, while advancing that learning locally and globally. Kroc School students learn from KIPJ leaders and a network of over 1,000 peacebuilders globally who are actively working to manage conflict.
The MS-CMR program equips students with a deep understanding of the historical, institutional and cultural factors that drive conflict, injustice, oppression, and poverty. For instance…
- We approach each conflict scenario with an explicit focus on developing a holistic understanding of conflict dynamics. We focus on both ongoing and emerging conflicts, such as issues related to climate change, polarization, racial justice, and immigration. Our teaching and research incorporate examples of best practices from around the world.
- We use simulations and a variety of experiential learning opportunities to teach every important principle of conflict studies to give MS-CMR graduates real-world experience, which provides practical benefits to their careers with opportunities to study abroad in countries such as: Colombia, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Rwanda and others.
Ready to Explore and Learn More?
The world needs people who can resolve conflicts, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for conflict resolution jobs — arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators — is expected to grow by more than 8 percent in the next 10 years.
With a great job outlook and the promise of a purpose-filled career, we invite you to download our newest resource — “” There you’ll find further in-depth discussions highlighting careers in Business, Criminal Law, Law Enforcement, International Relations, and a host of others. You’ll also find links to the resources you need to begin your application process.