The rationale for this set of modules is that conflict is inherent in every facet of the programs that are part of CalSWEC’s mission. These conflicts include (but are not limited to) conflicts between family members, between clients and social workers, between social workers who collaborate on cases, between social workers and their supervisors, between supervisors and their administrators, and between administrators and the media. Most writers in the field recognize that workplace conflict is inevitable, and if unresolved, has negative impacts that reach far beyond the principal parties (Wilmot & Hocker, 1998). Learning to manage conflict in a non-violent manner can increase the ability to work more effectively with clients, staff, and other personnel. Theories of non-violent conflict management are based on the notion that becoming comfortable with the existence of conflict is necessary in order to learn how to manage it in a direct, yet supportive manner.
The most effective way to address this topic is through a combination of skill-building and philosophical discussion, to enable participants to become invested in the idea that non-violent conflict management is better, more effective, and more efficacious in the long run than either avoidance of conflict, or an aggressive approach that leaves some participants winners and others losers. Having workshops that specifically target the problems and challenges faced by child welfare employees is important because generic material is often seen as too idealistic to be realistically possible in the complex and chaotic world in which child welfare employees operate. The material in these modules needs to be transformative. It must be presented in a way that allows participants time to process the material, so that it becomes more and more useful over time.