Morton Deutsch Theory of Oppression and Susan Carpenter and W.J.D. Kennedy Adopting Procedures
Morton Deutsch theory of oppression and Susan Carpenter and W.J.D. Kennedy Adopting procedures
My purpose in this section is not to single out and pick on a few researchers but only to use references from prominent social psychological and organizational scholars to illustrate the group phenomenon of inattention to definitions and adopting diffuse, confounded definitions.
Traditionally, conflict is thought to arise from opposing interests involving scarce resources and goal divergence and frustration (Mack and Snyder, 1957; Pondy, 1967; Schmidt and Kochan, 1972 Pp. 49-53). Conflict has often been proposed to occur in mixed-motive relationships where persons have both competitive and cooperative interests (Bacharach and Lawler, 1981; Kochan and Verma, 1983; Walton and McKersie, 1965 Pp. 45-49). The competitive elements produce the conflict; the cooperative elements create the incentives to bargain to reach an agreement (Deutsch and Krauss, 1962 Pp. 31-34).
More recently, Rubin et al. (1994) argued that conflict had become too broadly defined but they want to use it to mean a “perceived divergence of interest, or a belief that the parties' current aspirations cannot be achieved simultaneously” (p. 5). Concurring with Rubin et al. (1994), Lewicki et al. (1997) argued that there are many ways to define conflict and suggested a similar definition as “the interaction of interdependent people who perceived incompatible goals and interference from each other in achieving those goals” (p. 15). Barki and Hartwick (2004) elaborated upon these efforts by defining conflict as “a dynamic process that occurs between interdependent parties as they experience negative emotional reactions to perceived disagreements and interference with the attainment of their goals” (p. 234).
Researchers have tended to define conflict in broad terms. For example, Jehn and Bendersky (2003) defined conflict as “perceived incompatibilities or discrepant views among the parties involved” (p. 189). De Dreu et al. (1999) argued that conflict involves “the tension an individual or group experiences because of perceived differences between him or herself and another individual or group” (p. 369).
The term conflict as popularly used typically reflects the assumption that conflict involves not only differences but incompatible goals and is win-lose. Indeed, studies that ask people to complete questionnaires that use the term conflict without being modified as to whether it is win-lose or not typically indicate that conflict of various kinds are negatively related to outcomes (De Dreu and Weingart, 2003). The Chinese term for conflict has even stronger connotations of a win-lose battle than the English term.
Conflict researchers have typically been very inclusive in their definitions of conflict. Indeed, definitions seem to be given in an off-hand manner or more often not at all. However, the lack of discussion about definitions has resulted in the wide spread acceptance of conflict as involving opposing interests, a definition that confounds competition with conflict. Previous research has documented that this confusion very much frustrates our understanding and managing of conflict.
Critique of Traditional Definitions
Although defining conflict in terms of opposing interests ...