Several aspects from Chapter Six, “Conflict Management” of Robert Palestini’s book and Vuyisile Msila’s article, “Conflict Management and School Leadership” seem to coincide. Both authors seem to agree that school administrators need to essentially develop the ability and skill to successfully reduce and resolve conflict. According to Palestini, “conflict can be viewed as dysfunctional for organizations” (Palestini, 2011, p.113) and Msila agrees that "unmanaged conflict can create dysfunctional schools” (Msila, 2012, p.27). Therefore, it can be concluded that since “[c]onflict can have functional  outcomes” (Palestini, 2011, p.112), capitalizing on these outcomes for the good of everyone concerned within the educational organization is an ideal way of reducing the dysfunctional dimension of conflict. As Msila’s article suggests, that “[c]onflict is everywhere, and it is inevitable,” and this is especially true for educational organizations is inevitable, so administrators should be ready to handle it by deriving as many benefits from it as possible, rather than eliminating it.
Both Palestini and Msila’s seem to have laid out several strategies to manage conflict, some of which are similar, and some slightly different. According to the authors, the “incompatibility of cognitions or emotions” (Msila, 2012, p.25) and “the intellectual discomfort created by incompatible goals” (Palestini, 2011, p.113) is another reason why conflict exists, and therefore, these cognitive barriers need to be removed to a point where agreement is reached, so that the conflict can be effectively managed. One interesting conflict management strategy that has been mentioned in the works of both authors is avoidance. According to Palestini when issues are “trivial or tangential” (Palestini, 2011, p.119), the best thing to do is avoid conflict, and Msila even illustrates that “successful principals will be able to avoid” (Msila, 2012, p.29) conflict. Palestini also points out that assertive behavior is likely to cause disruption that can lead to conflict, and this kind of conflict can be avoided by compromising and adopting “sharing leadership” (Msila, 2012, p.29).
In conclusion, it is necessary to keep in mind that conflict can cross any boundary within an educational organization and affect every individual within the organization. Of course, it is also evident that conflict can “[have] a positive impact on organizational performance” (Palestini, 2011, p.115), but it can also lead to the downfall of an educational organization. Inevitably, how effectively the conflict was managed determines the consequence it will result in. It has also been displayed that conflict inevitably exists within our schools, and administrators need to recognize its existence in order to capitalize on its positive outcomes. As long as the conflict manage strategies, as mentioned in the works of both authors, are utilized by administrators appropriately in order to properly handle conflicts, organizational adaptation, change, growth, and survival can be facilitated. One interesting thing that both works reveal is that conflict does not necessarily have to be viewed from a negative perspective.
Msila, V. (2012). Conflict management and school leadership. J Communication, 3(1), 25-34. Retrieved from http://www.krepublishers.com/02-Journals/JC/JC-03-0-000-12-Web/JC-03-1-000-12-Abst-PDF/JC-03-1-025-12-042-Msila-V/JC-03-1-025-12-042-Msila-V-Tt.pdf
Palestini, R. (2011). Educational administration: Leading with mind and heart. (3rd ed.). Estover Road, Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield Education.