Definition: According to Phillips and Pittman (2009) “Conflict theory suggests that conflict is an integral part of social life. There are conflicts between economic classes, ethnic groups, young and old, male and female, or among races”. It is argued that conflicts between these people result because power, wealth, and prestige are not available to everyone. Therefore one party has power over the other and it is assumed that whoever holds this power will protect their own interests at the expense of others causing conflict.
Apply: Community organizers can use conflict theory in different ways. According to Phillips and Pittman (2009) it helps them to gain insight into why specific differences and competition have developed among groups and organizations in the community. Community organizers can use it to understand the distribution of power in a community and upon doing so can upset the status quo. Community organizers can determine if the amount of power in a community is to one sided and use different methods such as protests or boycotts to shift the power to be more equal.
Adapt: Conflict can happen in a multitude of different arenas such as businesses, schools or even families. Conflict theory can be used to help people resolve their differences. Once the competing interests of groups are identified the said groups can come up with ways to solve their issues. If a business seems to be making decisions only benefiting certain people the other’s can identify the problems and bring it up to everyone so the problems are resolved and everyone can benefit from them.