21st Century Careers Include Focus on Leadership and Interpersonal Conflict

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While careers in the science, technology, engineering and medicine fields are growing, the need for other skill sets remains. With any organization, interpersonal relationships and human behavioral patterns on a larger scale remain important. Effectively handling them is an integral part of keeping any entity functioning well. Whether it’s resources and strategy management, or team-building and employee relations, new courses of study have emerged to address the shifting modern realities surrounding them. The savvy professional can earn a degree in these fields, then apply critical skills and knowledge to help organizations thrive and grow.

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Conflict Resolution: in Demand for Today’s Workforce

While interpersonal conflict is a constant aspect of human nature, our modern world introduces some new dimensions to an ancient problem. You’ve probably heard stories that illustrate personality clashes or simple misunderstandings, but the truth is that the origin of most conflicts between people is far deeper than what is seen on the surface. Left unsolved, these issues can tear apart any group, and the Canadian HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector classifies them into six categories:

attempts to maintain power or influence;
a clash of values;
perceived or real resource scarcity;
drastic differences in interpersonal styles and approaches;
inequities within an organization; and,
pressures caused on a group by uncontrollable factors in the external environment.

That’s why courses of study such as the Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation at Abilene Christian University (ACU) have been recently created. They aim to instruct learners on how to listen, assess each situation and address the core problems. Matriculants acquire knowledge about how to work with disputing parties to achieve a fair, mutually agreeable resolution via classroom learning and real-world experience. After emerging with a master’s degree, program graduates typically find careers in both the public and private sectors in specialities such as such as employment relations, mediation and negotiation and marital dispute resolution.

Social Administration: a Field Created to Address Unique Leadership Needs

Social work has grown substantially from its early roots. Today, it is an interdisciplinary field with inputs from other professions such as psychology, sociology, education, law and politics. The International Federation of Social Workers defines it as a profession and discipline that “promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people.” From the core academic studies in this arena, new programs such as the Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) are emerging.

Students of programs such as the MSSA at CWRU don’t necessarily pursue careers in social work. Graduates may find themselves working as human resource managers in the private sector, addressing workplace issues and acting as a liaison between staff and upper management. Other possibilities include professionals in diversity and inclusion who ensure that their organizations hire a well-balanced and representative workforce, or public policy advocates who represent organizations and causes to engage both public officials and private citizens in important issues.

Looking Forward to New Career Opportunities

Small groups and large-scale entities remain in need of professionals to deal with relationships and conflict. Social administration and conflict resolution have arisen as courses of study, with their curricula tooled to address both traditional and new challenges. With graduate-level learning and real-world experience, professionals emerge who can assist their employers in these arenas.

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