Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Robin Cooper

Second Advisor

Judith McKay

Third Advisor

Urszula Strawinska-Zanko


conflict, group dynamics, group work, higher education, peace studies, performance, social sciences education, teams


A qualitative phenomenological study was conducted to gain an in-depth understanding of the lived experiences of Caribbean students in higher education who experience intragroup conflict as they engage in group work. The site for this study was the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and the participants were nine Caribbean students studying at the higher education level in the Republic who experienced intragroup conflict while engaging in group work. An interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to gain insight into the phenomenon and the key theories forming the theoretical framework were interpersonal theory, group development theory and intragroup conflict theory. The following master themes emerged: 1) negative interactions with resultant concern; 2) difficulty and injustice without desired assistance; 3) desiring to focus on the task, perform well and not be distracted by the conflict; 4) feeling powerless and wanting to give up or giving up; 5) negative emotions, attitudes and perceptions; 6) coping with the conflict: cognizant but not engaging; 7) identity and perception: who I am and who I am to others. The findings of this study give voice to students of the Caribbean in higher education, provide valuable insight and add richness and depth to the already existing literature on intragroup conflict. It can be a catalyst in transforming the manner in which conflict resolution practitioners and educators interact with students who experience the phenomenon.