The UCT based Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR) is launching its first training programme for the business community this August. The newly designed programme is among the first of its kind in the country and aims to train organisations how to resolve conflicts effectively.
According to Kholisile Mazaza, Senior Manager for national programmes at the CCR, the new programme will run in association with the UCT Graduate School of Business and is made up of three courses delivering basic, intermediate and advanced techniques in conflict resolution.
"The purpose of the programme is to introduce managers to conflict management theory and practice, to provide them with skills to manage conflict, and to deal with disputes in the workplace in more efficient and constructive ways. Each course delivers a specific level of training and managers can select what is the most appropriate level for their needs or complete the full three courses," said Mazaza.
Mazaza said that organisations in South Africa are in great need of better conflict resolution practices.
"Whenever conflict has occurred, more often than not the people involved interpret this as negative, and the tendency is to resort to power play and win/lose solutions that lead to an escalation of the conflict," he explained.
"The cost to organisations is high - the tendency is interpersonal strife and negative organisational culture, leading to high staff turnover and diminished productivity."
According to him organisations must realise that conflict is not necessarily bad.
"Conflict does present the organisation with opportunities for growth and increased efficiency. Conflict can be managed in such a way that it can be transformed into positive energy and innovation," said Mazaza.
He added that the CCR, founded by UCT in 1968, has pioneered conflict resolution training in South Africa.
"The CCR has trained communities, government departments and sectors, such as the police, Correctional Services and educators in partnership with the Western Cape Education Department. Our work has also been in high demand in various African regions, in partnership with multilateral organisations such as the United Nations."
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