The relational dimension depicts the changes affected in and desired for the face-to-face relationships. Here issues of emotions, power, and interdependence, and the communicative and interactive aspects of conflict are central. Descriptively, transformation refers to how the patterns of communication and interaction in relationships are affected by conflict. It looks beyond visible issues to the underlying changes produced by conflict in how people perceive, what they pursue, and how they structure their relationships. Most significantly, social conflict makes explicit how close or distant people wish to be, how they will use and share power, what they perceive of themselves and each other, and what patterns of interaction they wish to have. Prescriptively, transformation represents intentional intervention to minimize poorly functioning communication and maximize mutual understanding. This includes efforts to bring to the surface in a more explicit manner the relational fears, hopes and goals of the people involved.
The structural dimension highlights the underlying causes of conflict, and stresses the ways in which social structures, organizations, and institutions are built, sustained, and changed by conflict. It is about the ways people build and organize social, economic, and institutional relationships to meet basic human needs and provide access to resources and decision-making. At the descriptive level transformation refers to the analysis of social conditions that give rise to conflict and the way that conflict affects social structural change in existing social, political and economic institutions
The lenses of conflict transformation focus on the potential for constructive change emergent from and catalyzed by the rise of social conflict. Because the potential for broader change is inherent in any episode of conflict, from personal to structural levels, the lenses can easily be applied to a wide range of conflicts.
A key advantage to this...