Read the story of Samson in Judges 14-16, and try to determine the events that relate to the Five Stages of Escalating Conflict. When you think you have them all identified (hint: some occur multiple times), draw a graph on a flip chart, and label it with these events to show the Five Stages.
- Conditions for conflict exist, but neither party has acted on them.
- One side may even be unaware of the potential conflict even though the other side is resentful.
- A triggering event (or events) leads to escalation of the conflict by adding fuel to the fire.
- Intensified behaviors include demands, threats, ultimatums and open expressions of hostility.
- Polarization occurs as people pick sides.
- Opponents are dehumanized to make it easier to see them as the enemy, and selective perception filters out evidence that might justify opponents’ behaviors.
- Fighting generates new grievances, sometimes becoming new triggering events.
- Goals often change as initial solutions no longer satisfy.
- Unresolved old issues are revived.
- Sides “dig in” for prolonged conflict.
- Compromise seen as a sign of weakness.
- Stalemate occurs as sides run out of resources, support or energy to continue.
- Realization occurs that cost of conflict outweighs benefits of winning.
- One side achieves a lasting victory.