Chapter 1: Definitions and Approaches to Conflict and Communication Next Chapter

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Definitions and Approaches to Conflict and Communication
Definitions and approaches to conflict and communication

Few scholars would deny that communication is an essential feature of conflict. As Thomas and Pondy (1977) noted in their massive review of conflict in organizations, “It is communication with which we are most concerned in understanding conflict management” (p. 1100). Communication aids in the forming of issues, framing of perceptions, and enacting the conflict itself (Putnam & Poole, 1987). It functions as an impromptu code to signal intentions, exchange information, exercise influence, and coordinate outcomes. Most of all, “communication is the means by which conflict gets socially defined” (Simons, 1974b, p. 3).

Despite the importance of communication in social conflicts, early researchers often cast it as a backdrop or a taken-for-granted activity. ...

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