Conflict Behaviors and Their Relationship to Popularity

By Tezer, Esin | Adolescence, Winter 2001 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Conflict Behaviors and Their Relationship to Popularity


Tezer, Esin, Adolescence


Conflict is an inescapable feature of every human relationship and can lead to constructive as well as destructive outcomes (Deutsch, 1994). Conflict, when managed constructively, is a necessary and positive condition for the development and growth of children and adolescents, since it may help them move into deeper, more meaningful relationships with others (Johnson & Johnson, 1996). When managed destructively, however, there are numerous negative outcomes, such as detachment from school and lower grades (Berndt & Keefe, 1992), lower self-concept (Mild, 1990), undermined self-esteem and self-confidence (Opotow, 1991), and low agreeableness (Graziano, Jensen-Campbell, & Hair, 1996). These negative outcomes may lead to social isolation, loss of status among peers, and psychological maladjustment (Johnson & Johnson, 1996).

Conflict as a relationship variable has generally been defined as a state of incompatible behaviors (Deutsch, 1994). Two dimensions pertinent to conflict management--concern for self and concern for other, each of which can range from low to high--have been articulated by many theorists (Blake & Mouton, 1964; Deutsch, 1994; Johnson & Johnson, 1987; Thomas, 1976). Based on these dimensions, five conflict behaviors have been identified: competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating (Thomas, 1976; Johnson & Johnson, 1987). Competing is associated with high concern for self and low concern for other; collaborating with high concern for self and other; compromising with intermediate concern for self and other; avoiding with low concern for self and other; and accommodating with low concern for self and high concern for other (Deutsch, 1994). Competing forces one's viewpoint at the expense of others'; collaborating seeks effective problem-solving activities, so that all parties can achieve a m utually satisfying conclusion to the dispute; compromising searches for a middle-ground solution; avoiding involves withdrawal from conflict situations; and accommodating entails sacrificing one's own needs for the sake of another (Thomas, 1976). The constructive and destructive courses of conflict largely depend on which of these conflict behaviors is used.

Although conflict behaviors have been extensively studied from different vantage points, two issues are the focus of the present study. One is to examine the individual's self-reported conflict behaviors along with the opponent's behaviors as perceived by the individual. The other issue is to understand the role of the individual's sociometric status in the perception of these behaviors in self and other.

Conflict scholars (Deutsch, 1994; Thomas, 1976) have emphasized that, during conflict, each party's behavior is a reaction to the other's behavior. Stated differently, a party's behavior may change along with his/her perception of the other's behavior. In an early study, Thomas and Walton (1971) found that managers reported using tactics similar to those they saw the other party using. Cooperation tended to be compatible with cooperation, competition was inclined to be compatible with competition, and each was liable to be incompatible with the other. On the other hand, Thomas and Pondy (1977) have drawn attention to attributions, which play a crucial mediating role in shaping each party's reactions to the other's behaviors. They found that individuals tend to see themselves as cooperative but others as competitive.

Issues related to compatibility and incompatibility of conflict behaviors have received less attention in the literature on adolescent conflict. However, understanding the compatibility or incompatibility of conflict behaviors is important, since an individual's choice of conflict behavior will affect whether a conflict will take a constructive or destructive course. Examination of the characteristics of constructive and destructive conflicts (Deutsch, 1994; Thomas, 1976) has suggested that constructive conflict is characterized by perceived similarity in beliefs and attitudes, openness in communication, and trust and friendliness.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Conflict Behaviors and Their Relationship to Popularity
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?