The conflict theory originated with German philosopher Karl Marx. It emphasizes the marked differences of varying social classes and the power struggles between capitalist and working class individuals. While the conflict theory suggests that competition and class struggles are natural and necessary for survival, certain limitations also come with the territory.

Lack of Research

There is a lacking presence of the study of conflict theory in mainstream research. Much of the scientific research performed on conflict dealt primarily with individual conflict rather than interpersonal conflict. For this reason, there may not be a scientific basis for upholding the conflict theory.

Obstacles of Integration

The conflict theory is limited to certain environments. Incorporating the conflict theory into environments such as the home has its own set of challenges. While the conflict theory certainly would relate to social class relationships, it is much more difficult to bring that concept into family dynamics as the link between the two is extremely limited.

Negative View of Society

The conflict perspective on society affirms the negative and conflicted state of society as normal behavior. This theory challenges the status quo and firmly believes that the elite class is responsible for enforcing social order on those who are destitute. Furthermore, it discounts all acts of kindness as having an ulterior motive or personal agenda. Humanitarian efforts, acts of altruism, democracy and the civil rights movement, according to the conflict theory, were designed to control the masses rather than to promote peace and social order.


It is suggested via the conflict theory that the division between social classes is ultimately a power struggle, a competitive force in which one group seeks domination and control over the weaker group. The ironic component of this thought process is that even within the weaker group, there may still exist a power struggle. The gap is not required to be so wide as it is not necessarily an issue between capitalism and working class. Also, if conflict is a natural segment of humanity, then topics on conflict resolution or peace integration are obsolete and void of meaning. With that consideration, conflict theory is only applicable in situations of war, famine and political strive. Not in situations of peace and social equality.

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