The diagram I’m going to show you here has its routs in conflict management. It describes the different steps of possibilities to solve a conflict. You can relate very much to this regarding human behavior and the relationship between us. After I got to know about this like two years ago I tried to analyze a lot of situations and tried to put them in one of the steps of the diagram. It often can help you to demystify “what’s going on” on different occasions. This diagram really shows in a nutshell what the world is about!


The six phases of a conflict (according to Gerhard Schwarz)

This diagram is based on the work of Gerhard Schwarz. He is a German expert on conflict management. I modified his version of it that he presents in one of his books only slightly.

Did you ever hear someone complaining about that the world should be much better, we should be more kind to each other and should all live in peace together?


Well, these persons obviously did understand that this target is the highest which you can aim for in life! If we would all live together in peace, we could find all ourselves on the highest step in this diagram.

For our present time you can make your own thoughts of where we as humanity are “on average” today – relating to the possible steps of the diagram..!

For example: Current ongoing wars make sense to relate to step 2 (fighting) and they will either result in a step below (step 1) or can also go up one step (into step 3). Going down to step 1 would mean that people of a consequence of the war are fleeing – and that’s something what I think the whole world witnessed over the last years. Step 3 means things would be getting better compared to the fighting in step 2 and one of the two groups fighting each other would involuntary be suppressed by the other group. This would be the result if some group “won” the fight and is in power over the other (By the way I don’t think that any war can have real “winners”..! By executing the action of wars both sides have already lost in my mind. They can only try to avoid further collateral damage from that point).

You can see that when talking about an active war it’s hard to find anything which you can take as an example for peaceful hierarchy (which would be step 4) or even higher steps like working together and accept compromises or consensus at its best.

This shows why there’s a rule to this diagram: If you “are” at one step you can see that most of the time it only makes sense to move one step up or down – regarding the following steps of that hierarchy. This means that a war, were fights are already happening right now (in step 2), can not simply lead to collaboration “on the next day” that easily (which would be step 5, 6 or maybe even 4). To repair the relationship of whole nations, fighting groups or individual people there has to be invested time in enabling the rivals to go through all the steps – one after another. It would definitely be better if you could skip some steps sometimes – just to make an exception and accelerate things – but reality often shows that this isn’t possible so easy.

For me it was a little bit strange when reading about this that a conflict is seen in the literature as solved, independent of the conflict results in good or bad for both sides. For me personally I see a conflict only really solved if both sides are okay with it. This can usually only happen from step 4 to 6 (voluntary submission, compromise or consensus). All other conflicts may be “solved” in the literature even if they are in the lower regions of 1 to 3 (fleeing, fighting or involuntary submission). I personally don’t think this fits very good. If after a fight both sides flee there’s only this one conflict been solved. But if both sides can’t avoid each other in the future there will be other conflicts somewhere. So only “solving” one conflict with fleeing or fighting doesn’t solve the real conflict for both sides.

I now related this diagram to war and fighting people or groups. But as I said in the beginning: You can use this diagram really for a lot of different things! For example, I used it in one of my articles about WORBLI, described the current and possible future status of “banks & cryptos” and which role WORBLI can and will hopefully play in this:

You can read the full article about WORBLI where I used this diagram here.

In the end I hope you understood how you can use it and how important the results you get from it can be.


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Konfliktmanagement: Konflikte erkennen, analysieren, lösen | 2005 | Gerhard Schwarz | Gabler | 3409796053

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  1. Zeus69

    Very interesting, I have 15 staff members and deal with so many people on a daily basis hence conflict management and consensus is of major importance to me personally, certainly if the world populations had to follow the consensus approach it would be so much better for all to live on Earth.
    Thanks for the interesting article @infosion.
    Mark (Zeus69)

    1. Infosion Post author

      Thanks for yur feedback!
      Yeah I guess with 15 people there is often something going on 🙂
      I think this is very important and also hepfull a lot of the times too. Sometimes I’ll just have to remind myself for example trying not to get “soaked up” too much into arguments of people but rather try to find consensus