Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

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

First Advisor

Elena Bastidas

Second Advisor

Neil Katz

Third Advisor

Urszula Strawinska

Abstract

Organizations and research that are only measuring conflict style one time, are treating conflict style as a trait or label. However, conflict style can change over time, and with context. Even the circumstances around the conflict itself may impact how individuals handle conflict. This means that individuals may demonstrate different conflict styles in different circumstances. There is little research that explores the implications of individual conflict style change if measured at different times and in different circumstances. Nor is there much research that explores what factors may have an influence on conflict style change. This study explores whether conflict style significantly changes for individuals who completed the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict MODE Instrument (TKI) assessment two times. The research examined data from 11,821 participants and found a statistically significant relationship between conflict style change and age of participants, the highest level of participant education, and the duration of time between taking the first and second assessment. The results of this study suggested that it may be more appropriate to assess conflict style multiple times if conflict style metrics are contributing to research outcomes or organization training determination and planning. Because conflict style can change for individuals, it may be inappropriate to consider conflict style a trait, or use it as a label. Instead, conflict style may be better suited for the evaluation of organizational conflict learning objectives, and situationally specific individual conflict style state observation.

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