Document Type



Claremont Graduate University

Publication Date



Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Missions and World Christianity | Practical Theology | Social Psychology


Among the consequences of conflicts between missionaries are a reduction in ministry effectiveness and an increase in the likelihood of missionary attrition. In contrast to perspectives of conflict management in Christian contexts which tend to focus on power (condemning the other party as sinful, enforcing submission to the hierarchical superior, or separation of the conflicting parties), the dual concern model of conflict management views conflict as an opportunity to understand each party’s concerns so that the two parties may cooperate and find solutions that correspond to the interests of both parties (Phil. 2:4). The dual concern model also predicts conflict behaviors (i.e., forcing, submission, or avoidance) when the interests of both parties are not considered. A qualitative analysis of data collected from present and former missionaries describing power issues (N = 34) indicates that the dual concern model of conflict management can be used to predict conflict behaviors and outcomes, even when conflicts are initially framed in terms of power. Recommendations for increasing cooperation between missionaries include better training in conflict management, the creation of mediation systems, and the development of an organizational culture that promotes cooperation.