LESSON 2: Conflict Resolution – Make Peace with First Five

Updated: Nov 28, 2020

A blog on this website stated recently that common sense tells us the world would be a better place if we reduced conflict. It seems too simplistic. Let us ask ourselves this question, ‘Why not aspire to kindness, joy, and happiness thru acts of love and goodness rather than hate, anger, fear, and harm thru acts of shouting and acting out?’ As living beings, we are subject to the laws of nature. Natural selection, the process whereby organisms better adapt to their environment to survive and produce more offspring, provides us with a range of personality types. The influence of the environment through one’s development in combination with the genetic variations obtained from both parents creates a unique personality paradigm for the individual. Researcher Dr. Barbara Frederickson has demonstrated evidence¹ that shows about one in three individuals tend to have a predominant negative psychological affect or mood. Fortunately, all is not permanent. Humankind is uniquely prepared to intervene and adapt.

The learning objective is for the reader to discover in the material presented relevant comparisons to current events. Draw your conclusions keeping in mind that genuine peace is a product of trust and respect for one another.


First Five is a work tool for arbiters and intermediaries. Albeit enumerated, it is a holistic method that a peacekeeper, negotiator, or mediator may use when confronted with the challenge of neutralizing conflict issues.

The steps to be mindful of in the First Five process are as follows:


  2. Correct Fallacies with Unspoiled Truth

  3. Listen - Agree to Disagree – Agree

  4. Favor Compromise

  5. Ensure Righteous Justice

The Principles of Peace are communicated to the engaging parties at the introduction. All participants are asked to demonstrate an understanding of the principles during the negotiation. The Principles of Peace are Grace, Trust, Wisdom, Leadership, Humility, Reconciliation, Respect, and Service.

The mediator or arbiter should be able to define each for the participant’s understanding. The mediator’s presentation style should be one of confidence and project neutrality, ensuring there is no bias. Experience and training are strongly encouraged².

A 2008 qualitative study of 57 autonomous teams shared the following findings about their abilities to improve resolving conflict³:

  1. The teams resolve conflict better if they focus on content of interpersonal interactions rather than delivery.

  2. The teams resolve conflict better if they explicitly discuss reasons behind any decisions reached in accepting and distributing work assignments.

  3. The teams resolve conflict better if they assign work to members who have the relevant task expertise rather than assign by other common means such as volunteering, default, or convenience.

The study is an example of conflict resolution on a level involving teams. It also illustrates how discrete variables can be analyzed within a problem and solutions determined objectively using a qualitative study and measurement of relationships within a group of people.

Question: How is sociometry and the study and measurement of relationships within a group of people a relevant source of support for school counselors, marriage counselors, human resource managers, and labor negotiators who follow the First Five process?

Question: What is the purpose of the Principles of Peace and why are they important in the overall success of the First Five process?


The Rwandan genocide took place during the period April through July of 1994⁴. Estimates are that 500,000 to 600,000 Tutsi deaths, thousands of Butwa deaths. and unimaginable atrocities including mutilations and rapes occurred. The conflict arose over centuries of tribal dispute, followed by colonialist policies that perpetrated a caste system among tribes. Attempts by a designated lower caste, the Tutsi, to rise above their standing became a cause for their oppressors, the Hutus, to seek their annihilation. The Butwa tribes, much smaller in number, became victimized as part of the holocaust that followed.

“The systematic destruction of the judicial system during the genocide and civil war was a major problem. After the genocide, over one million people were potentially culpable for a role in the genocide, nearly one fifth of the population remaining after the summer of 1994,” (Wikipedia, Rwandan genocide). Attempts to bring forth righteous justice for the victims and their families was obstructed by the sheer volume of unjustifiable violence.

Question: What are the avoidances, preventions, or restraints available to humankind that will ensure future generations such acts of horror shall never occur again?

¹Frederickson, Barbara. 06/21/2011. The Positivity Ratio. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=barbara+fredrickson+the+positivity+ratio+

²Patterson, K., Grenny, G., McMillan R., & Switzler A. (2012). Crucial Conversations – Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, McGraw Hill.

³Behfar, K. J., Peterson, R. S., Mannix, E. A., & Trochim, W. M. K. (2008). The critical role of conflict resolution in teams: A close look at the links between conflict type, conflict management strategies, and team outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(1), 170–188. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.93.1.170

⁴Wikipedia. 11/24/2020. Rwandan genocide. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_genocide

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