This essay explores the link between colonization and later ethnic tension and violence. Small Arms Trade -- During the Cold War, nuclear disarmament was a focus; now many policy makers are focusing on weapons of mass destruction. But small arms are actually doing much more harm in current conflicts, and efforts to control the small arms trade deserve priority attention as well.
Costs and Benefits Costs and Benefits of Intractable Conflict -- The costs of conflict can be very high: death, destruction, humiliation, anger, fear, illness, depression, absenteeism However, conflict, if conducted constructively, can also have benefits. Costs of Conflict Costs of Intractable Conflict -- The twentieth century was the deadliest in all of human history. With eight million Jews murdered and one million Rwandans, it was named "the age of genocide.
This essay discusses the human, economic, social, and political costs of intractable conflict. This takes an emotional toll on both parties and prevents them from working together in the future. Decision-Making Delay -- Often parties get so stuck in their conflicts that they cannot even agree on a decision making process.
The result is long-delayed decisions, leaving everyone with continuation of the default, business-as-usual option even when there better options are available. Violence -- Overview -- This article examines the nature of political violence and what can be done to stop it. Interpersonal Conflict and Violence -- Interpersonal violence is the use of physical force to harm another person. It can also take the form of emotional abuse where language or behavior, not physical harm causes emotional damage. This essay explores how interpersonal violence is both a cause and a consequence of intractable conflict.
War -- War has been a common feature of the human experience since the dawn of civilization. However, this essay questions whether it is an effective or efficient way to solve problems and suggests things people can do to stop wars from happening. Terrorism -- Terrorism fundamentally involves extreme acts of political violence, targeting civilians, and intended to arouse fear as much as or more than the actual damage the violence causes directly. Terrorism Defined -- The term "terrorism" means different things to different people.
Mitchell's article explores the many different definitions of the word -- both official and unofficial -- and the implications that those definitions have on policy and action. Suicide Bombers -- It is easy to assume that suicide bombers are "evil. Usually, a number of factors motivate someone to take both their own and others' lives.
War Crimes -- Although inhuman acts have been committed in wars throughout history, the concept of war crimes is relatively new. It was only with the Holocaust and other atrocities of World War II that people began to think of some of the horrors of war as crimes for which perpetrators could be held legally accountable. Genocide -- In recent years, genocide, or attempts to completely erase adversaries--either through death or exile, have become increasingly common. These resources describe the special problems posed by genocide and other war crimes.
Refugees -- Conflict can cause people to flee an area, either because of intolerable living conditions or forceful expulsion. Such situations can lead to more conflict when refugees try to return home. Victimhood -- In the early s, millions of Ukranians died under Stalin's violent policy of forced collectivization.
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The depth of pain, fear, and hatred that continued to characterize the Ukrainian attitude toward Russians is typical of all victimized people. This essay examines the causes and consequences of a sense of victimhood. Humiliation -- Humiliation is reducing to lowliness or submission. It is theorized to be a major cause of violent and intractable conflicts.
Benefits of Intractable Conflict -- Conflict is change. Without it, attitudes, behavior, and relationships stay the same, regardless of whether they are fair. Although conflict is often understood as something negative, this essay explores its many benefits.
Dynamics Factors Shaping the Course of Intractable Conflict -- The parties, issues, setting, and history are among the factors that shape the course of conflicts. Conflict Stages Conflict Stages -- Most conflicts go through a series of stages, which may or may not occur in order. They start as latent conflict. They then emerge, escalate, de-escalate and are resolved--sometimes permanently, sometimes temporarily until they emerge or escalate again.
Latent Conflict Stage -- The first stage of conflict is latent conflict. At this stage, there are deep value differences or significant injustice, which will potentially lead to an active conflict. Conflict Emergence Stage -- It is common for significant tensions or grievances to persist over long periods of time without resulting in a noticeable conflict. This essay explores the factors that transform such tensions into an active conflict.
Escalation and Institutionalization Stages -- When a conflict reaches the escalation phase, it intensifies quickly. Escalating conflicts can turn into a spiral with each side continually provoking each other to raise the stakes, making the conflict more and more destructive. Failed Peacemaking Efforts Stage -- The repeated failure to negotiate an end to a conflict confirms its intractability.
Often these failures discourage new attempts and create a burden of mistrust to be overcome. Consequently, the struggle continues. Hurting Stalemate Stage -- Once conflicts escalate for awhile, the parties often reach a stalemate, neither party can win, but neither party wants to back down. At this stage the parties have two options, continue to bleed each other dry or look towards resolution.
De-escalation Stage -- Conflicts do not escalate indefinitely. Eventually, they reverse direction, decreasing in intensity until they are forgotten or resolved. Negotiation Stage -- In the negotiation stage, parties search for mutually- beneficial ways of resolving their conflict. This stage must be timed and executed very carefully in order to avoid a return to the escalation stage. Settlement Stage -- The settlement stage marks the end of the active conflict.
With the waning of apartheid in South Africa, for example, the South African identity began to incorporate all the people of South Africa instead of just black or white. This was a sign that the settlement stage of the conflict was successful. Peacebuilding and Reconciliation Stage -- In long-running inter-group conflicts, after successful negotiation, peacebuilding and reconciliation is necessary to prevent a return to the conflict. In this stage, disputants begin to heal and to rebuild relationships, slowly putting their society back together.
Social Psychological Dynamics of Conflict Social Psychological Dimensions of Conflict -- These dimensions include emotions fear, distrust, hostility as well as processes such as framing, stereotyping, and scapegoating. These factors significantly influence the way a conflict is perceived and responded to. Psychological Dynamics Psychological Dynamics of Intractable Conflicts -- In intractable conflicts, it is possible for entire societies to get tangled up in negative psychological dynamics.
If these dynamics are not recognized and addressed it will become difficult or impossible to resolve the conflict. Limits of Rationality -- Negotiation theory often assumes that people in conflict behave rationally, making their decisions on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis. While rational assessment is sometimes one part of the disputants' decision making rubric, other factors usually play a significant role as well, often overriding what would be seen to be the "rational" response.
Ethos of Conflict -- A community's ethos is its shared beliefs, goals and identity. Communities in an intractable conflict expand that ethos to explain their approach to the conflict. A community's ethos strongly affects how destructive the conflict becomes. Siege Mentality -- Many societies believe that other societies have negative intentions towards them. But with the "siege mentality," the situation is far more extreme. They believe that the entire world is hostile toward them. Delegitimization -- Delegitimization refers to the negative stereotypes used to describe an adversary.
Delegitimization is one of the major forces that feeds violence and prevents a peaceful resolution. Dehumanization -- Dehumanization has the power to justify society's most violent and terrible impulses. If outsiders such as the Jews in Germany or the Tutsis in Rwanda are seen as less than human, then this clears the way to commit atrocities against them.
Cognitive Dissonance -- People tend to ignore or "explain away" new information that conflicts with the way they currently think. Such "cognitive dissonance" can have both constructive and destructive effects on conflict. Game Theory -- Simple mathematical models can provide insight into complex societal relationships. This essay explore some of these models, especially the prisoner's dilemma.
Frames, Framing, and Reframing Frames, Framing and Reframing -- Frames are the way we see things and define what we see. Similar to the way a new frame can entirely change the way we view a photograph, reframing can change the way disputing parties understand and pursue their conflict. Interests, Rights, Power and Needs Frames -- The way parties view or "frame" their own interests, needs, rights and power can determine whether a conflict becomes intractable or not.
Cultural and Worldview Frames -- People from different cultures often have such radically different worldviews that what seems like common sense to one side, is anything but sensible to the other. Process Frames -- To a hammer, all the world is a nail. People tend to apply their own skills to working out a conflict, i. While this is usually a sensible division of labor, it can also distort choices if people from one procedural frame dominate the process and other options are not considered.
Competitive and Cooperative Approaches to Conflict -- This set of materials explores these two different approaches to conflict and the results of pursuing one or the other. Identity Frames -- Identity frames include ideas about who one is, what characteristics they share with their group s and how they do and should related to others. These frames are frequently sources of conflict. When in error, they can lead to and escalate conflicts. Enemy Images -- In Rwanda, the Tutsis were referred to as the enemy, cockroaches and rats. These extreme enemy images paved the way for the atrocities of the Rwandan genocide.
Prejudice -- Harry Bridges wrote, "No man has ever been born a Negro hater, a Jew hater, or any other kind of hater. Nature refused to be involved in such suicidal practices. Into-the-Sea Framing -- When a conflict becomes intractable, many people hope that their enemy will simply disappear. They pursue overwhelming victory without ever really considering the fact that they will still have to live with their enemies after the conflict.
Fact Frames -- Facts do not speak for themselves. The same information from different sources, or received by different people, can lead to very different conclusions. One's "fact frames" determine what is believed and how that determines one's choices about what to do. Reframing -- Bernard Mayer wrote, "The art of reframing is to maintain the conflict in all its richness but to help people look at it in a more open-minded and hopeful way. This essay examines the importance of these emotional factors in both conflict assessment and response.
Anger -- Anger can be constructive, but is more often destructive. This essay examines the interplay between anger and conflict and discusses when and how anger should be managed. Fear -- Fear is both a cause and a consequence of violent and some nonviolent conflicts. It certainly makes conflict resolution more difficult. When the other person reciprocates this sentiment, there is mutual distrust that further fuels the escalation of conflict. Guilt and Shame -- We feel guilty for what we do.
We feel shame for what we are. Both lead to and are caused by conflict. Face -- From the correspondence between Kennedy and Khrushchev during the Cuban missile crisis, it is clear that they were trying to end the conflict while retaining their honor or "saving face. Destructive Escalation -- Escalation is an increase in the intensity of a conflict.
The number of parties and issues tends to increase, tactics become heavier, malevolence increases, and overall destructiveness generally increases as well. Constructive Escalation -- Despite the dangers of escalation, disputants often intentionally escalate conflicts. Parties generally do this when they feel their needs are being ignored. This essay examines the risks and benefits of tactical escalation and offers suggestions on how the risks can be minimized. Polarization -- Polarization of a conflict occurs as a conflict rises in intensity that is, escalates.
Often as escalation occurs, more and more people get involved, and take strong positions either on one side or the other. In the most extreme cases, supporters are asked to sacrifice their lives. Once these sacrifices have been made, it becomes very difficult for leaders to publicly admit that it was all for nothing. This essay describes some key strategies available for slowing escalation and then de-escalating a conflict. Complexity Complexity -- Complexity refers to the numbers and interrelationships of factors involved in a conflict: the numbers of parties, issues, technical facts, etc.
Complex systems are even more difficult to understand and deal with than "complicated systems" from which they must be distinguished. This essay describes the differences between complex and complicated systems and explains how both make transformation or resolution a challenge. Complex Adaptive Systems -- Beyond complex, societal-level conflicts can be considered to be "complex adaptive systems," similar in some sense to weather, ant colonies, or jazz ensembles. Systems modeling is one tool to help you do that. People Parties to Intractable Conflict Parties to Intractable Conflict -- This essay gives a brief introduction into the roles people involved in an intractable conflict can play.
Disputants Stakeholders or First Parties -- Disputants are the people primarily involved in a dispute. They are the ones most affected by the outcome of the conflict and the ones who are pursuing it. Leaders and Leadership -- James MacGregor Burns, observed, "Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth. Stakeholder Representatives -- When a conflict has spread to a large group such as a nation or a religious group, not everyone can participate directly in the conflict resolution process. They must choose a representative to act on their behalf. This is a demanding and risky position.
Intermediaries Intermediaries -- One of the principal insights of the conflict resolution field is that intermediaries who attempt to approach conflict from an independent, fair, and neutral perspective can help parties work through their difficulties in ways that would be impossible for them to do alone.
Formal Intermediaries -- Formal intermediaries are ones who act as professional third parties: mediators, arbitrators, facilitators and judges.
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They are contrasted with informal intermediaries who play the same roles on an informal basis. Informal Intermediaries -- It is not necessary to be formally trained to have a positive effect on conflict. Ordinary people can act as facilitators, mediators, or even arbitrators ask parents! Bystanders -- Bystanders are the ones caught in the cross fire of a conflict.
This essay argues that although the bystander role is often that of a victim, it is also a potentially powerful role. Within-Party Differences Within-Party Differences -- It is common to assume that the views of a few outspoken members of a group reflect the views of the entire group, i. However members of the same group often have drastically different opinions. Moderates -- Most interest groups include a substantial number of moderates -- people who, while they may feel passionately about an issue, are also open to hearing the other side and exploring opportunities for compromise.
Moderates have a special ability to transform destructive conflicts. Conflict Profiteers -- Conflict profiteers are people who benefit from the continuation of a conflict. These benefits may be financial, political or social. Extremists and Spoilers Extremists and Spoilers -- Extremists are people who take extreme views--those which are much stronger, and often more fixed than other people's views of the same situation.
In escalated conflicts, extremists may advocate violent responses, while more moderate disputants will advocate less extreme measures. Dealing with Extremists -- In large-scale conflicts there are often individuals who take militant, non-compromising, and often violent approaches to the problem.
They are committed to driving the escalation spiral until total victory is attained. Although they are often seen as heroes, extremists can prevent the de-escalation of a conflict. Humanization of Extremists -- Extremists can be dealt with in humane ways. This essay illustrates what this means.
Mediating Evil, War, and Terrorism: The Politics of Conflict -- This essay discusses alternative ways that political systems, individual peacebuilders, and "regular" people can address violence and evil, suggesting that some approaches perpetuate or even escalate the evil, while other approaches disarm it and render it an ineffective mode of action. External Supporters -- External supporters play a critical role in many conflicts.
They range from sympathizers to people with more selfish agendas. Third Siders Third Siders -- Third siders act in a community threatened with destructive conflict as an immune system acts in a body threatened by disease. Average citizens such as teachers, journalists, artists and police officers can play key roles in preventing, de-escalating and resolving conflict.
Bill Ury has labeled these people "third siders. Bridge building, or the act of building relationships, takes place all around us, sometimes without us even perceiving it. Facilitators -- Facilitators are neutrals who help a group work together more effectively. They have no decision-making authority, nor do they contribute to the substance of the discussion.
Good facilitators can help groups stay on task and be more creative, efficient, and productive Mediators -- Mediators get involved in a dispute in order to help the parties resolve it. Unlike arbitrators or judges, mediators have no power to define or enforce an agreement, but they can help the parties to voluntarily reach agreement.
Arbitrators -- Arbitrators listen to the arguments of both sides in a dispute and issue a final and binding decision. Arbitration is used for cases that either cannot be negotiated, or where negotiation has failed. Educators -- Educators play a critical role in preventing or de-escalating conflict. Teaching tolerance and critical thinking and helping to break down stereotypes can help disputants manage their own conflicts more constructively. Witnesses -- In Bloomington, Indiana, a group called "Moms on Patrol" walks the streets with cell phones, looking out for dangerous gang activity, and reporting it to the police.
By watching carefully, witnesses like Moms on Patrol can prevent escalation of conflict and even save lives. This essay describes what witnesses can do and how they can do it. Peacekeepers -- When violence breaks out, the community needs to employ measures to stop harmful conflict in its tracks. The police and UN peacekeepers can act as peacekeepers, but it is a community function too.
Parents, teachers, co-workers all can be peacekeepers in their own domains, as is described in this essay. Healers -- Conflict often leaves deep wounds. Even if a conflict appears resolved, the wounds may remain and, with them, the danger that the conflict could recur. The role of the healer is to restore injured relationships. Equalizers -- Stronger parties often refuse to negotiate with weaker parties. This is where the equalizer comes in. Each of us is capable of empowering the weak and the unrepresented.
This essay discusses the role of the equalizer in intractable conflicts. Referees -- If and when people do fight, it is important to reduce the harm. Referees set limits on fighting. Providers -- Conflict usually arises in the first place from frustrated needs, like safety, identity, love and respect. Providers are those who help others attain such needs. This essay discusses both the positive and the negative effects NGO's have on conflict. Development and Conflict Development and Conflict -- This section of the website explores the link between development and conflict, a link which is frequently overlooked by development workers and conflict practitioners.
Development and Conflict Theory -- Societies are always changing. Some improve, while others fail. Development theory aims at explaining both processes. This essay explores how development theory can be used to deepen our understanding of intractable conflict. Development Interventions and Conflict -- This essay explains the three levels of development interventions: structural, governmental and grassroots.
These parallel the three levels of conflict intervention as well. The intersection of the two: development and conflict interventions are explored here. Development and Conflict In Practice: People Interviewed -- This essay gives brief biographies for the eight people interviewed for this series on development and conflict. Development, Poverty and Conflict -- Alleviating poverty is the first step to aiding developing nations. This essay explains how conflict theory can contribute to this goal.
This essay explores the connections between conflict and lack of education. Development, Gender and Conflict -- Gender inequality is often a "hidden problem" in developing countries. It both hinders development and can exacerbate intractable conflict. Until these problems are dealt with, they will hinder development and breed intractable conflict.
Development, the Environment and Conflict -- Ensuring environmental sustainability is one of the Millennium Development Goals.
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Global Partnerships and Development -- This essay argues that if one country is very poor, it negatively affects not only its own population but also the international community. Therefore, it is imperative that all countries should help each other to develop. Power Power -- If power were one-dimensional, we could agree who has more and who has less. However, we are often surprised when a seemingly less powerful party holds a more powerful party at bay. This essay discusses both potential and actual power, the forms power can take, and its role in causing and solving intractable conflicts.
War is politics with bloodshed. This essay discusses the pros and cons of coercive power--violent, nonviolent, political, military, and more. Aggression -- This essay explores the debate over aggression, asking whether it is an instinct, a reaction or a learned response. Revenge and the Backlash Effect -- Most people hate to be forced to do things against their will. Using threats often produces such a large backlash that they cause more problems than they solve, as this essay explains.
Examples are embargoes and prohibitions from attending international events. This essay describes the pluses and minuses of using sanctions to influence another's behavior. Nonviolence and Nonviolent Direct Action -- Nonviolent direct action is action, usually undertaken by a group of people, to persuade someone else to change their behavior.
Examples include strikes, boycotts, marches, and demonstrations--social, economic, or political acts that are intended to convince the opponent to change their behavior without using violent force. Exchange Power Exchange Power -- Simply, exchange power means that I do something for you in order to get you to do something for me. However, this simple concept has formed the basis for very complex human interactions, for example our economic system. Incentives -- Incentives also known as bribes involve rewarding another party for changing their behavior. Although incentives have been frequently associated with weakness or indecisiveness, they can be an effective approach for resolving conflicts.
Integrative Power Integrative Power -- Integrative power is the power that binds humans together. Kenneth Boulding calls it "love" or, "if that is too strong," he said, "call it respect. Persuasion -- Persuasion is the ability to change people's attitudes largely through the skillful use of language.
Martin Luther King's letter from a Birmingham Jail is a classic example of persuasion. Power Inequities -- Plutarch wrote, "An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics. Empowerment -- Saul Alinsky wrote, "I tell people to hell with charity, the only thing you'll get is what you're strong enough to get. Voice -- Those whose voices are most often silenced include women, children, minority groups, indigenous peoples, and the poor. This article explains the importance of having a voice, whether it is through voting, holding office, or having a seat at the negotiating table.
Capacity Building -- In order to negotiate effectively, parties sometimes need to build their own or others' capacity to respond to their situation effectively by building knowledge, providing resources, or both. Networking -- This essay describes how networking can be used to build relationships and empower individuals and groups to confront difficult conflicts more effectively.
Coalition Building -- Coalition building is the making of alliances or coalitions between individuals, groups, or countries who cooperatively work together to reach a common goal. Activism -- This essay discusses ways that disputants can and do address intractable conflicts in constructive ways through activism. Social Movements -- Social movements are groups of individuals who come together around an issue to bring about or resist change.
Culture and Conflict Culture and Conflict -- People from different cultures often have such radically different worldviews that what seems like common sense to one side, is anything but sensible to the other. Different cultures and worldviews can lead to completely different understandings or frames of a conflict, making resolution a challenge. But, Mediterranean, Arab, and Latin American cultures allow more touching. Cultural differences like this can cause problems in cross-cultural negotiations. Such differences are explored in this essay.
Rituals and Conflict Transformation: An Anthropological Analysis of the Ceremonial Dimensions of Dispute Processing -- This article describes the importance of rituals in conflict resolution -- both in traditional societies and also in modern societies, such as that of the U. Rituals are a way of expressing and dealing with strong emotions and values; they provide security and a familiar, comfortable way of dealing with difficult conflicts or disputes.
Increasing support for concession-making in intractable conflicts: The role of conflict uniqueness. Peace and conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 21 2 , Pliskin R. Running for your life, in context: Are rightists always less likely to consider fleeing their country when fearing future events? Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 59 , Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41 , Perceptions of changing world induce hope and promote peace in intractable conflicts.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41 4 , Emotions and emotion regulation in intractable conflict: Studying emotional processes within a unique context. Advances in Political Psychology, 36 , The effect of sociopsychological barriers on the processing of new information about peace opportunities.
Three layers of collective victimhood: Effects of multileveled victimhood on intergroup conflicts in the Israeli-Arab context. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 44 12 , Bar-Tal, D. Why it is so difficult to resolve intractable conflicts peacefully? A sociopsychological explanation. Galluccio Ed. Switzerland: Springer. Challenges for peacemakers: How to overcome the socio-psychological barriers. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences , 1, Are leftists more emotion-driven than rightists?
The interactive influence of ideology and emotions on support for policies. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40 12 , Nasie, M. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40 11 , How group-based emotions are shaped by collective emotions: Evidence for emotional transfer and emotional burden. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4 , Emotion regulation and the cultivation of political tolerance: Searching for a new track for intervention. Paradoxical thinking as a new avenue of intervention to promote peace. Indirect emotion regulation in intractable conflicts: A new approach to conflict resolution.
European Review of Social Psychology. Exposure to outgroup members criticizing their own group facilitates intergroup openness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Societal beliefs and emotions as socio-psychological barriers to peaceful conflict resolution. Palestine Israel Journal. Reifen Tagar, M. Moral conviction in the context of protracted intergroup conflict: When ideology matters in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
European Journal of Social Psychology. Beliefs about the malleability of immoral groups facilitate collective action. Socio-Psychological barriers for peace making and ideas to overcome them. Resolving intractable intergroup conflicts: The role of implicit theories about groups. Deutsch, P. Marcus Eds. The Handbook of Conflict Resolution. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Collective emotions and emotion regulation in intractable conflicts.
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Extinction threat and reciprocal threat reduction: Collective angst predicts willingness to compromise in intractable intergroup conflicts. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. Implicit theories block negative attributions about a longstanding adversary: The case of Israelis and Arabs. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. The nature of socio-psychological barriers for peaceful conflict resolution and ways to overcome them. From the Laboratory to the Field. Psychological Science , 24, Making a difference: Political efficacy and policy preferences polarization.
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Cichocka Eds. Houndmill, England: Palgrave Macmillan. Review of the book The nature of hate, by: R. Promoting the Middle East peace process by changing beliefs about group malleability. Socio-psychological barriers to peace making: An empirical examination within the Israeli Jewish society. Journal of Peace Research, 48, Affirmation, acknowledgment of ingroup responsibility, group-based guilt, and support for reparative measures.
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Christie Ed. The Encyclopedia of Peace Psychology , pp. Conflict resolution, socio psychological barriers to. The Encyclopedia of Peace Psychology, pp. Emotional orientation, collective. The fighting type of conflict was the main type of conflict that developed. In cases in which the conflict became superficial fighting or quarreling type , the postconflict relationships remained at the level of superficial harmony. Thus, the preconflict relationship appeared to exert a stronger effect on the postconflict relationship than the conflict type did.
Four instances of hidden conflict inhibition harmony with the supervisor were also reported in the study. The participants involved might have strongly disagreed with their supervisors on certain matters but not have exposed this, and thus the supervisors might not have been aware of the disagreement.
Subordinates in this type of a scenario typically harbor strong negative feelings toward, and keep their distance from, the supervisors. Consequently, morale was low among these four participants. Lastly, the accommodating style tended to cause the conflict to remain implicit, and thus only the inhibition type of superficial harmony remained in the relationship. However, one previous study Huang and Hsu, , which is discussed here, used the dynamic model of interpersonal harmony and conflicts of Huang , a model that is highly favorable for understanding this relationship and can precisely portray the progress in the transformation of the relationship.
Analysis of the data gathered from 19 in-depth interviews revealed an extensive range in the harmony between mothers- and daughters-in-law. The findings revealed that the relationship between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law is initially a superficial harmony, because they interact with each other through the same person but do not interact directly. The harmonization process begins with both parties avoiding face-to-face conflicts and maintaining superficial harmony during the beginning stages of the marriage, following which the relationship changes depending on whether the mother- and daughter-in-law change their obliffection chin-yi , , which refers to obligations and affections involved in the interaction leading toward the relationship.
Essays On Conflict
If the mother- and daughter-in-law wish to maintain a relationship of genuine harmony, their outward behaviors must closely match their hidden emotions. Outer behaviors within this genuine harmony invariably transform the hidden emotions into progressively more positive emotions. Positive hidden emotions and outer behaviors make this form of harmony a dynamic progression that includes three phases in terms of the distinct intensities of the relationship quality and the harmonization mechanism of dynamic interaction in the transformation process.
In Phase 1 formation of genuine harmony , a relationship of the genuine harmony type begins to develop as each person fulfills her mutual obligations as a mother- or daughter-in-law. In Phase 2 maintenance of genuine harmony , the mothers- and daughters-in-law freely express affection for one another and identify transforming solutions to hidden conflict, and their genuine harmony relationship at this stage is steady. In Phase 3 refinement of genuine harmony , the genuine harmony is reinforced as the relationship becomes progressively more interactive, and the parties no longer focus on merely fulfilling their obligations as mothers- and daughters-in-law.
Conversely, if the relationship continues to remain a superficial harmony, the interactions and their consequences differ completely from those in a genuine harmony. The study revealed that obliffection chin-yi is the core harmonization mechanism operating in the relationship between mothers- and daughters-in-law.
Therefore, Hsu and Huang confirmed that the traditional optimal relationship between mothers- and daughters-in-law is the affiliation type of harmony, which indicates that the core interaction mode is the affective-orientation mode and that it also involves active caring emotion. However, in the case of present-day mothers- and daughters-in-law, the optimal relationship they seek might be a role-fitting-type of harmony, which suggests that adjustment-orientation, cooperation, and obligation priority are highly favorable Hsu and Huang, Hidden conflict is more widespread than explicit conflict in Chinese society, as suggested by the theory of Huang Previous Western studies have treated ignoring hidden conflict as one type of relationship aggression.
However, ignoring and ending of relationships occur in close friendships. From the relationship aggression viewpoint, no explanation is available for why the actor senses pain and guilt in this scenario. Chinese people emphasize relationships, and thus they cannot readily confront conflict and prefer to allow a conflict to become implicit. Instead of damaging a relationship explicitly and directly, ignoring the target friend is one approach used for coping with interpersonal conflict and leading the relationship into a superficial harmony: Ignoring silently conveys a sense of dissatisfaction and reduces intimacy in a friendship.
Therefore, Lai and Huang examined the meaning and process of ignoring hidden conflict in adolescent friendships in a previous study by adopting the dynamic model of interpersonal harmony and conflict, which is based on the Chinese cultural context rather than on the relational aggression viewpoint. In the study Lai and Huang, , data on past instances of ignoring experiences were gathered by interviewing 14 participants 13—29 years old; 11 females. Close friendships in adolescence are high-support relationships but can be unstable.
If the conflict remained vague, the relationship entered into a superficial harmony in which the intimacy between the parties decreased. If the conflict escalated, the relationship became broken. If an opportunity presented itself for communicating clearly and expressing the value of each partner in the relationship, the relationship developed into a genuine harmony.
Lastly, in certain cases, even after the contact between friends ceased to exist, the people involved did not readily accept or become aware of the end of the relationship, which suggests that the consequences of ignoring were not all negative. However, from the relationship aggression viewpoint, no positive results can be observed here.
The theory of Huang suggests that attention must be devoted to the superficially harmonious aspect of friendship. According to the self-disclosure theory, a superficial friendship appears to remain frozen in this state forever. However, this view has been called into question. In Study 1, questionnaires were answered by Taiwanese college students. The results showed that emotion sharing occurred in both superficial- and genuine-harmony friendships in Chinese society and that distinct types of harmony displayed the same sharing pattern.
All types of emotion were shared, and the friendship quality was affected after the sharing of emotions. Study 2 was focused on the types of emotion shared in a superficial harmony that appeared at a low frequency in Study 1, and the in-depth interview was used as the qualitative study method. The experimental stories included four manipulated emotions, sadness, happiness, guilt, and affection, plus one control condition, non-emotion sharing. The results indicated that friendship quality was affected by emotion sharing and that the change was moderated by the previous harmony type.
The findings of this series of studies clearly reveal that the emotion sharing theory is more appropriate than the self-disclosure theory for interpreting the breakthrough that results in a superficial-harmony friendship developing into a genuine-harmony friendship. Most Western studies on conflict are based on the social exchange theory, conflict dialectics, and PDG. Because Chinese culture or political ideology emphasizes the value of harmony and devaluates conflict, a harmony theory is specially required for understanding Chinese people i.
Based on the Yin—Yang perspective or the dialectic of harmonization, the author first reconstructed and reinterpreted the concepts regarding harmony and conflict embodied in traditional Chinese thought, specifically the theory of integration of heaven and humanity, the theory of rituals Li -thoughts , and the state-ideological Confucianism, which imply, respectively, the ideas of individual personality, interpersonal ethics, and the interests and effectiveness of groups or organizations.
Based on this formal model, a qualitative study was conducted to construct, respectively, substantial theory regarding interpersonal harmony and conflict. Furthermore, the described findings have revealed that by combining qualitative and quantitative empirical research, a substantial theory can be established and the concepts can be validated. Thus, a Chinese indigenous psychology rooted in traditional cultural thought and Eastern philosophy has been realized. Additionally, this article might raise certain arguments in the Chinese indigenous research field. First, the meaning of Yin—Yang is highly controversial.
Yin—Yang, as an indigenous Chinese notion, could be regarded as a type of Chinese philosophy Feng, Yin—Yang, as a traditional Chinese philosophy, lacks methodology and operationalizable methods. However, Li X.
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Thus, Li X. Furthermore, Li P. Because Yin—Yang is an epistemology, the author used the Yin—Yang perspective to develop the formal model. As a metaphysics that includes ontology, cosmology, and natural philosophy and denotes a non-empirical type of philosophical enquiry into the nature of existence, the dialectic of harmonization can serve as a new perspective on culture Huang, ; Fang, Although Yin—Yang was regarded as an epistemology and the formal model of interpersonal harmony and conflict was constructed based on this epistemology, the model corresponds to the three core tenets of the Yin—Yang frame proposed by Li P.
Moreover, the research extended previous work and confirmed two of the three operating mechanisms of Yin—Yang balancing, asymmetrical balancing and transitional balancing, and only the mechanism of curvilinear balancing remains to be confirmed. Leung initially reported that conflict avoidance is more common in the East Asian society than in Western society; however, in contrast to this, Leung subsequently constructed a dualistic model of harmony harmony enhancement and disintegration avoidance and combined conflict and thus suggested an integrated model for conflict management Leung et al.
Furthermore, the new concepts were used, without being regarded as indigenous concepts, for conducting a cross-cultural study Leung et al. According to the notion of Li P. Brew perceived a requirement to integrate Western and Chinese conceptual frameworks into a single model that would be ontologically meaningful for Western and Asian study samples; however, Brew still focused on conflict and not on harmony.
In this respect, whether the Huang model can be applied to international societies must be investigated further in cross-cultural comparisons. Regardless of the type of current research being conducted on conflict management, an emerging trend has been the incorporation of the Chinese notion of harmony into conflict management, and the adoption of Yin—Yang as a new perspective on culture in the field of management. The author confirms being the sole contributor of this work and approved it for publication.
The author declares that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Front Psychol v. Front Psychol.
Published online Jun 8. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. This article was submitted to Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology. Received Nov 29; Accepted May The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author s or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Abstract This article provides an overview on a series of original studies conducted by the author. Keywords: Chinese indigenous psychology, conflict, emotionalizing, harmony, Yin—Yang perspective. Introduction This article provides an overview on a series of research studies that the author conducted on interpersonal harmony and conflict. Western View of Conflict and Its Evolution The Western view of conflict has evolved through its interaction with various perspectives. Open in a separate window. Table 1 Various type of interpersonal harmony: Main characteristics and transformative relationship.
Genuine Conflict focus on the issue Transformation Superficial Conflict lack of focus, negative emotion T1. Entanglement type. Table 3 Interaction orientation under six types of interpersonal harmony. Table 4 Mother—child conflict situations and procedures. Stage Task Cooperation or Supervision Benchmarking Distraction Duration minutes 1 Low complexity task: sorting materials Mother—child cooperation None None 3 2 Mother directs child in task None Child: cartoon 3 3 Medium complexity task: puzzle Mother—child cooperation None Child: cartoon 5 4 Mother directs child in task Time pressure Child: cartoon 5 5 High complexity task: mathematical exercises for grade 2 or 3 Mother—child cooperation Time pressure Child: cartoon 7 6 Mother directs child in task Time pressure Child: cartoon Mother: questionnaire 7 Total Subordinate—Supervisor Conflict in the Chinese Workplace A literature review reveals that the bidimensional five-style framework of conflict resolution avoiding, accommodating, collaborating, competing, and compromising is now universally accepted Thomas, ; Rahim, Hidden Conflict or Ignoring in Adolescent Friendships Hidden conflict is more widespread than explicit conflict in Chinese society, as suggested by the theory of Huang Conclusion and Discussion Most Western studies on conflict are based on the social exchange theory, conflict dialectics, and PDG.
Author Contributions The author confirms being the sole contributor of this work and approved it for publication. Conflict of Interest Statement The author declares that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. References Ainsworth M.
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