The conflict process is an ongoing process which has five dimensions to it. However, it is important to recognise that conflict does not always take on the same form or dynamic. Below is a list of the five dimensions of conflict and how they are different throughout conflict situations.
To define the dimensions of conflict, they are:
The issues that are in conflict that people feel most strongly about. Large conflicts often have many issues within them that are important to the people involved in the conflict, however these issues alone do not necessarily define the particular dimension of conflict. There can be several sets of salient issues within a single conflict. For example, in the American Civil War it could be argued that both slavery and secession were both salient issues with different groups of people within the United States at the time. Another important thing to remember about salient issues is it is only one aspect of a larger constellation of constellation of meanings and arguments.
Stated and Actual Contention
The contention in a conflict that is based in the actual state of affairs in reality. Two sides may not be in agreement with how things really are, but when they disagree on what is actually going on, they are at loggerheads. The situation where parties disagree over what is real or imagined or what is actually taking place (e.g., “he was there when it happened”, rather than “he saw it happen”) defines this aspect of the conflict. Therefore, in a conflict between two groups or individuals, opposing positions on the conflict itself may reflect the larger conflict. For example, in some cases it may be important to know exactly what an enemy country’s positions on various issues such as national boundaries and foreign relations are.