Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Psychology, PhD

Program

School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Allen M. Omoto

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Michelle C. Bligh

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Michael Hogg

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Peter Kim

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2014 David R. Dunaetz

Abstract

Interpersonal conflict, a process involving perceptions of differences and opposition, is often an undesired but inevitable consequence of interaction between individuals. Multiple goals (internal representations of desired states) can be present in interpersonal conflict. Past studies identify four major categories of conflict-related goals: content goals, relationship goals, identity goals, and process goals; the last three may be classified together as social goals. Several hypotheses were tested in an online experiment in which adult members of evangelical churches (N = 276) imagined themselves in various church-related conflict situations. Participants were assigned to one of two conditions; in one condition, participants read scenarios where their content goals were achieved and in the other condition, participants read scenarios where their content goals were not achieved. Each participant read a series of three scenarios involving the different types of social goals. For each of the three scenarios, they imagined how satisfied they would be with two different outcomes. In the first outcome, in addition to achieving or not achieving their content goal (depending on the condition), they did not achieve the social goal that was made salient (e.g., the relationship is damaged or they lose face); in the second outcome, they achieved this social goal. In addition, participants completed individual difference measures of dominance, sociability, face threat sensitivity, and justice sensitivity. This study found support for the hypothesis that the achievement of each type of conflict-related goal leads to greater satisfaction with the conflict outcome than not achieving the goal. It also found support for the hypothesis that the achievement of two conflict-related goals (specifically, a content goal and a social goal) interact to lead to greater satisfaction with the conflict outcome beyond the main effects of achieving each goal individually. Additionally, this study tested hypotheses that individual differences (dominance, sociability, face threat sensitivity, and justice sensitivity) moderate the relationship between conflict-related goal achievement and conflict outcome satisfaction. Support was only found for the hypothesis that individuals higher in sociability report greater differences in satisfaction when their relationship goals are achieved (relative to not achieved) than those who score lower in sociability. The results imply that, when both a content goal and a social goal are present, disputants are especially satisfied when both goals are achieved. Exploratory analyses also indicated females, younger adults, and people with greater church involvement responded more strongly to achieving goals than males, older adults, and those with less church involvement. This information can be used by disputants, negotiators, and mediators who are concerned about maximizing joint outcomes.

DOI

10.5642/cguetd/89

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