The SAGE Handbook of Conflict Communication
Publication Year: 2013
This second edition of the award-winning The SAGE Handbook of Conflict Communication emphasizes constructive conflict management from a communication perspective, identifying the message as the focus of conflict research and practice. Editors John G. Oetzel and Stella Ting-Toomey, along with expert researchers in the discipline, have assembled in one resource the knowledge base of the field of conflict communication; identified the best theories, ideas, and practices of conflict communication; and provided the opportunity for scholars and practitioners to link theoretical frameworks and application tools.
Fully updated with the latest research throughout, the second edition offers new chapters on qualitative and quantitative research methods for conflict, intimate partner violence, family dynamics, mental health, negotiation, workplace bullying, healthcare conflict, identity and intercultural conflict, the middle way approach, conflict ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Definitions and Approaches to Conflict and Communication
- Chapter 2: Quantitative Methods for Conflict Communication Research
- Chapter 3: Qualitative Research on Communication and Conflict
- Section 1: Interpersonal Conflict
- Introduction to Interpersonal Conflict
- Chapter 4: Emotion and Communication in Conflict Interaction
- Chapter 5: Social Cognition and Conflict
- Chapter 6: Conflict in Dating and Marital Relationships
- Chapter 7: Intimate Partner Violence
- Chapter 8: Family Conflict Communication
- Chapter 9: It Happens in Real Life: The Complexities of Conflict and Mental Health within Families
- Chapter 10: Managing Conflict in a Competent Manner: A Mindful Look at Events That Matter
- Section 2: Organizational Conflict
- Introduction to Organizational Conflict
- Chapter 11: Negotiation
- Chapter 12: Perspectives on Workgroup Conflict and Communication
- Chapter 13: Conflict Motivations and Tactics of Targets, Bystanders, and Bullies: A Thrice-Told Tale of Workplace Bullying
- Chapter 14: Work–Life Conflict
- Chapter 15: Building Constructive Conflict Communities Through Conflict Resolution Education
- Chapter 16: Conflict Management in Health Care Settings
- Chapter 17: Systems within Systems: Law, Management, and Participation-Based Conflict Management Systems within Organizations
- Section 3: Community Conflict
- Introduction to Community Conflict
- Chapter 18: Community Conflict, Ethics, and Civic Engagement
- Chapter 19: Environmental Conflict Communication
- Chapter 20: Trust in Community–Academic Research Partnerships: Increasing the Consciousness of Conflict and Trust Development
- Chapter 21: Religion and Conflict: An Emerging Field of Inquiry
- Chapter 22: Moral Conflict and Transcendent Communication
- Chapter 23: Communities, Conflict, and the Design of Dialogic Conversations
- Section 4: Intercultural/International Conflict
- Introduction to Intercultural/International Conflict
- Chapter 24: The Identity Factor in Intercultural Conflict
- Chapter 25: Interracial and Interethnic Conflict and Communication in the United States
- Chapter 26: Intercultural and Intergroup Conflict Resolution: Nonviolence and Middle Way Approaches
- Chapter 27: Conflict in the Global Workplace
- Chapter 28: Building Cultures of Peace: The Role of Intergroup Dialogue
- Chapter 29: Culture-Based Situational Conflict Model: An Update and Expansion
- Chapter 30: Transforming Intercultural Conflict Through the Context of Relationship
- Chapter 31: Conflict Communication in Contexts: Organizing Themes and Future Directions
[Page ii]Dedication to our precious, loving sons
To Spencer and Ethan: May conflict never interrupt the true joy that you get from life; your laughter, your enthusiasm, and your love for life are inspiring.—dada
To Adrian: May you know how to navigate flexibly in a conflict-filled world—with wisdom, courage, and hope.—mum
Copyright © 2013 by SAGE Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Printed in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The SAGE handbook of conflict communication: integrating theory, research, and practice / editors, John G. Oetzel, Stella Ting-Toomey. — Second Edition.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-4129-8779-0 (hbk.)
1. Conflict management. 2. Social conflict. 3. Communication in the social sciences. I. Oetzel, John G. II. Ting-Toomey, Stella.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
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Conflict is frequent in our lives (CPP, 2008; Folger, Poole, & Stutman, 2013; Wilmot & Hocker, 2011). Conflict is “an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from others in achieving their goals” (Wilmot & Hocker, 2011, p. 11). We are exposed to many types of conflict in our lives from family disagreements, work disputes, community violence, and wars. A recent report found that 85% of people have to deal with conflict to some degree in the workplace (CPP, 2008). In addition, in April 2012, there were 60 countries and 317 militias, separatists groups, or states involved in armed conflicts (Wars in the World, 2012).
In addition to being frequent, conflict has important consequences for the parties directly involved, as well as the witnesses to conflict. The negative consequences are the ones often associated with conflict (rather than the positive or uncertain outcomes). These consequences include relationship dissolution, direct economic costs, opportunity costs, dissatisfaction, violence/death, discord, project failure, and trauma. For example, a report in 2007 estimated that Africa had costs of $300 billion (of about $18 billion per year) related to armed conflicts (Hillier, 2007).
On the other hand, conflict has positive outcomes such as opportunities for self-understanding, creating of new ideas, learning about others, seeing different perspectives, relational development, identifying and addressing problems, and improving communication skills. A report identified 75% of people in the workplace were able to see these positive consequences of conflict (CPP, 2008). Many communication scholars emphasize that the consequences of conflict are due to the way the conflict is managed (e.g., Folger et al., 2013; Wilmot & Hocker, 2011). If we manage conflicts constructively, then we have positive outcomes; if we manage conflicts poorly, we have negative outcomes.
What it means to manage conflict constructively or destructively is a complex issue. A simplistic answer is that constructive conflict is done cooperatively, while destructive conflict is done competitively. However, this superficial assessment belies the many factors involved in a conflict. There is a proliferation of research about conflict theory and practice. Much of this research examines the multitude of factors involved in conflict situations. The amount of research makes it difficult to synthesize key principles and practices of constructive conflict management in a simple manner. These chapters aim to provide this synthesis in a variety of specific contexts.
This particular Handbook emphasizes constructive conflict management from a communication perspective. This perspective places primacy in the message as the focus of conflict research and practice. The means to express conflict is through communication (verbal and nonverbal messages); likewise, the means to manage and address conflict is through communication. In this preface, we discuss [Page ix]the purpose, intended audience, and organizational framework of this volume. We also highlight changes in this second edition from the first edition. In describing the organizational framework, we also introduce the first three chapters, since these serve as general overviews for the four main sections.Purpose, Audience, and Changes for This Volume
In the first edition, our general purpose of the Sage Handbook of Conflict Communication was threefold: (1) to assemble in one resource the knowledge base of the field of conflict communication; (2) to identify the best theories, ideas, and practices of conflict communication; and (3) to provide the opportunity for scholars and practitioners to link theoretical frameworks and application tools. This multipronged purpose grew from our focus on communication and the intended audience.
We have not changed our purpose for the second edition. The threefold purpose continues to work well. However, the second edition presents an opportunity for authors to update research in their respective areas. We conducted a library search of major databases in a variety of fields. The search parameters included the dates of January 1, 2006, to April 2012 (at the time of this writing), in any language (although the database tool includes mostly articles in English), and scholarly publications (including peer-reviewed journal articles, books, book chapters, and trade publications). The results using specific search terms were the following: (a) conflict: 636,264; (b) conflict and communication: 149,149; (c) interpersonal conflict: 4,207; (d) organizational conflict: 763; (e) community conflict: 782; and (f) intercultural or international conflict: 3,422. The limited search of these general terms illustrates that significant research has been conducted since the publications of the original Handbook. Thus, it is an opportune time for authors to update the review of research in their areas.
The first edition had three primary constituencies: (1) academics who will use it as a resource for their scholarship; (2) instructors who will use it as a main or supplementary text in advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in conflict communication; and (3) practitioners who are responsible for a variety of conflict management processes and systems in a variety of settings and who are interested in bridging theory and practice (e.g., organizations, political entities, mediation, counseling, courts, etc.). The second edition still seeks to include these audiences, and yet we add one more key audience: students. While instructors choose to use the Handbook in the courses, we certainly want students to be able to understand and apply the information they read.
The multiple constituencies present a challenge to the authors of the Handbook. The authors handled this challenge brilliantly. For academics/instructors, the Handbook must reflect the state of the art regarding conflict communication theory and research. The content needs to advance thinking on conflict and stimulate new ideas and guide future scholarship and research. For practitioners, the Handbook must be practical and applicable to the ongoing conflicts that they view and participate in on a daily basis. The application of research must promote critical reflection on existing practices as well as provide creative and innovative ideas to improve conflict practices. For students, the information must be accessible. These goals are interdependent in that academics want innovative and heuristic ideas to benefit a variety of constituencies, practitioners want practical suggestions that are framed by current research, and everyone appreciates information that is accessible.
To this end, we asked authors to address the threefold purpose of the Handbook as they completed their review. We asked them to [Page x]consider the latest theory/research and the best known practices rather than separating these components. In addition, we asked authors to consider three stylistic suggestions for each of the chapters: (1) visual models/figures and tables to synthesize and/or illustrate the review; (2) real-life examples/case studies to illustrate the research; and (c) accessible language at a level of beginning graduate student (i.e., to appeal to advanced undergraduates and newly starting graduate students). The authors used these stylistics approaches in various ways that are complementary to their research areas. The result is a richly textured Handbook with the latest theorizing efforts/research findings and best practices in the four conflict communication domains and, concurrently, is accessible to a larger audience than the first edition.
Finally, we also have some changes in content. Reviewers of the first edition recognized some holes in the volume and made suggestions of new chapters and topics for coverage. We decided to add a number of these topics by omitting a few of the original chapters (because of limited updated research in those areas) and shortening the length of each of the chapters. As a result, we added chapters in the following areas: (a) separate chapters on qualitative and quantitative research methods and conflict, (b) intimate partner violence, (c) mental health issues in families, (d) negotiation in the workplace, (e) workplace bullying, (f) health care and conflict, (g) community ethics and civic engagement, (h) spirituality and conflict, (i) trust and conflict in academic–community partnerships, (j) identity and intercultural conflict, (k) middle way approach to addressing intercultural conflict, (l) global conflict in the workplace, and (m) the culture-based situational conflict model. Thus, there are a number of fresh, updated chapters from the first edition as well as new invites on other topics.
There were also other topics that reviewers suggested, and we had some difficult choices in deciding what to include as full chapters due to space limitation. In the end, there were some topics that we felt warranted coverage and perhaps not at the level of a full chapter. To this end, we asked authors to consider the following issues in their reviews as best as they could: (a) culture, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and social class issues; (b) globalization; (c) power; (d) technology; (e) change/transformation; (f) forgiveness; and (g) ethics. We have tried to include as much relevant and new material as possible and recognized that we could not cover every topic as well as we would have liked, given space limitations.Organizational Framework and Overview of Introductory Chapters
The Handbook is divided into four sections plus three introductory chapters and a conclusion. The three chapters in the introduction offer an overview of definitional, theoretical, and methodological issues in conflict communication. In Chapter 1, Putnam outlines the historical development of approaches and definitions to the study of conflict and communication. She reviews the early work on communication and conflict dating back to the 1970s and traces the role of communication in defining conflict, developing approaches to studying conflict, exploring models of negotiation and mediation, and moving from quantitative to qualitative methods of research. She concludes by suggesting ways to integrate knowledge across the discipline and to investigate the ways that conflict contributes to individual, organizational, and societal growth.
In Chapter 2, Fink and Cai (with Wang) offer an overview of quantitative approaches for researching conflict communication. Their goal is to consider research that creates social [Page xi]science theories that involve prediction and description. They also consider issues for comparing conflict communication across groups, particularly cross-cultural comparisons. They consider four critical topics in conducting quantitative research about conflict communication: (1) issues of measurement and observation; (2) research design—including experimental and nonexperimental cross-sectional, panel, and time-series studies; (3) sampling; and (4) data analysis. In each of these topics, they identify specific issues for researchers to consider and identify specific example studies that illustrate the choices that researchers made. Furthermore, Fink and Cai offer concrete suggestions and considerations when conducting quantitative conflict research that is geared toward creating social science theories.
In Chapter 3, Jiang and Buzzanell offer an overview of qualitative, and some mixed methods, approaches for researching conflict communication. They note that qualitative research aims to provide understanding and strategies for conflict resolution and consider the simultaneous positive and negative consequences of conflict. They also explain that qualitative research on conflict is not always labeled as such because researchers’ philosophical bases presume contradiction and tension. Jiang and Buzzanell identify four predominant qualitative paradigms and describe the assumptions and approaches, as well as review concrete studies to illustrate the following four paradigms: (1) phenomenology, (2) sociocultural/social construction, (3) critical/cultural studies, and (4) poststructuralist/postmodernist. Then, they introduce five key methods of data collection that are used by qualitative conflict researchers: (1) narrative, (2) ethnography, (3) grounded theory, (4) case study, and (5) mixed methods. The methods are described, and particular conflict studies from diverse contexts are reviewed to illustrate the methods. In the case of the mixed methods, Jiang and Buzzanell include only studies that foreground qualitative research rather than studies that “take a back seat” to the quantitative methods.
These introductory chapters have a decidedly research flavor as they set the stage for the nature of conflict research in the four specific sections. These four sections focus on contexts in which conflict occurs: (1) interpersonal, (2) organizational, (3) community, and (4) intercultural/international. We describe each of these contexts, and the respective chapters, in the introductions for each section.ReferencesCPP. (2008). Workplace conflict and how businesses can harness it to thrive. Mountain View, CA: Author. Retrieved from http://img.en25.com/Web/CPP/Conflict_report.pdf2013). Working through conflict: Strategies for relationships, groups, and organizations (, , & (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.2007). Africa's missing billions: International arms flows and the cost of conflict. Oxford, England: Oxfam International, Safer World, & International Action Network on Small Arms. Retrieved from http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/africas-missing-billions-international-arms-flows-and-the-cost-of-conflict-123908(Wars in the World. (2012). Lists of ongoing conflicts: Africa. Retrieved from http://www.warsin-theworld.com/?page=static12582542232011). Interpersonal conflict (, & (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Editing this Handbook was an exhilarating and breathtaking experience. We are indebted to many remarkable individuals who encouraged and motivated us to bring this book to fruition. First and foremost, we want to thank all the talented authors who contributed their inspiring ideas and chapters to the Handbook. Without their hard work, dedicated energy, and creative ideas, this Handbook would not be in your hand. They were a pure joy to work with and, as you can see from the finished product, they are a magical group of scholars and researchers who have dedicated their professional lives to researching the field of conflict communication theory and practice in diverse arenas. Thank you for journeying with us with such perseverance, professionalism, and passion in turning this Handbook into a precious treasure we now hold in our collective hands.
Second, we express our warm appreciation and thanks to our editorial assistant, Willow Anderson. She did amazingly meticulous work in proofing and double-checking the citations and references in each chapter and always did it with such joy and bliss. Thank you, Willow, for spending such dedicated energy and time in helping us get to the finish line. Third, we want to thank Todd Armstrong, the former senior acquisitions editor in communication and media studies at Sage, and also Matt Byrnie, current senior acquisitions editor of communication and media studies at Sage. Todd encouraged us to develop the first and second editions of this conflict Handbook from the very beginning, and Matt has seen the second edition to its close. We also want to extend our special applause to Stephanie Palermini, editorial assistant to Matt, for helping us navigate the multitude of editorial steps in rounding off this Handbook. A special thanks also goes to the copy editors at QuADS Prepress for their careful editing and keen eye in polishing up the collective chapters. Fourth, we want to thank the reviewers of the first edition: Ruth Anna Abigail, Michael Bartanen, Amanda Byron, Stephen Croucher, Kristin Davis, Nancy Erbe, Larry Erbert, Brian Heisterkamp, Greg Leichty, Sheryl Lidzy, Vici Taus, and Denise Williams. Your thoughtful review provided us excellent insights about how to revise the Handbook for the second edition. We did our best to integrate all of your comments in the second edition.
Finally, we express our profound gratitude and a big “thank you” to our colleagues at the University of New Mexico, the University of Waikato, and the California State University at Fullerton (CSUF). Our colleagues have provided us with an affirming and marvelously supportive environment to conduct our scholarly work. We could not have asked for a more intellectually stimulating and collegial group to work with. Last, we thank all our special graduate and undergraduate students for their inquiring minds and opening hearts—in the seminar and classroom settings—in pushing us forward as scholars and teachers in our thirst to understand the interdependent connection between conflict communication theory [Page xiii]and practice in the terrains of interpersonal, organizational, community, and intercultural settings. Stella also wants to thank the CSUF-MAG (Milton A. Gordon) Award Committee for awarding her a one-class research release time in the Spring to wrap up the completion of this mega-editing book project with calm effort and dedication.
Individually, there are several people in our personal and professional lives to whom we would like to express our special acknowledgments.
John: I want to thank my wife and life partner, Keri, for providing me with such understanding love, sustained personal support, intellectual stimulation, and enriching insights during this arduous editing process. I also want to thank my very special boys, Spencer and Ethan, who give me wonderful distractions from work and help to keep me balanced. I also want to thank Stella for coediting this volume with me. I value our peaceful friendship, intellectual synchrony, and magical teamwork in projects big and small in the past nearly 20 years of working together. It has been a pure joy working with you and learning from you. It is amazing that in editing such a voluminous conflict Handbook, we do not have more conflicts.
Stella: I want to extend my warm thanks to my husband, Charles, and son, Adrian, for coming along with me on this spectacular academic ride. I thank you for your lifelong sacrifices for supporting me, encouraging me, and humoring me with your gentle affection and safety net. Last but not the least, I want to do a special “shout out” to John. It has been almost 20 years since John was enrolled in my intercultural communication theory graduate seminar. My first impression of John to my present impression of John remains steadfast: a first-rate scholar and also a stellar human being. On all writing projects big and small, John displayed intellectual astuteness, disciplined focus, and the tenacity to see the project through to the end with quality resolution. John, I value our intellectual dialogue, idea synergy, and most important, I take pride in you as a caring, responsive human being and also your great mentoring of younger scholars in the discipline.
To the readers, we thank you for taking the time to read each chapter in this Handbook with thoughtfulness and intellectual questioning. We encourage you to pursue your own conflict communication interest with passion and gusto. We hope the ideas in the Handbook would inspire you to bring your own visions out to the open and that you would be able to write down your own unique conflict insights with courage and imagination. We challenge you to extend the conflict communication field forward in the four conflict communication contexts, and you would also be able to leap forward fearlessly in different directions to explore the unknown and the unfamiliar, and to add your fresh perspectives to the conflict communication discipline. We hope you enjoy perusing this Handbook as much as we have found the rewards and gratifications in editing this volume.[Page xiv]