The systems and conflict approaches are often viewed as incompatible, if not contradictory. While the former emphasizes system integration, consensus, and harmony, the latter connotes lack of consensus, and perhaps even system dissolution. This paper shows that rather than being contradictory, consensus and conflict are in fact complementary in some ways. Further, they can coexist simultaneously within a system. Every system has, at a given time, some level of both consensus and conflict (although one or the other may be very low, it is still probably above zero). While functionalists have long viewed system integration as "functional" and conflict as "dysfunctional," we also see conflict as "functional," as it combats lethargy and obsolescence, and spurs needed change and growth. However, while both conflict and integration coexist in a system, their interrelationship is complex, and sometimes very difficult to analyze. This paper demonstrates the complementary of system integration and conflict through explication of the simultaneous interrelationships of three analytical models: the global-mutable-immutable distinction, the three-level model, and the Q-R distinction. Through this analysis we show that integration and conflict not only are complementary, but are in fact symbiotic, and need each other.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2004
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