Conflict and Organizations

Communicative Processes

Edited by Anne Maydan Nicotera

Subjects: Business Communication
Series: SUNY series, Human Communication Processes
Paperback : 9780791426661, 301 pages, October 1995
Hardcover : 9780791426654, 301 pages, October 1995

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Table of contents


Part I. Introduction and Historical Background

1. Thinking about Communication and Conflict
Anne Maydan Nicotera

2. A History of the Study of Communication and Conflict
Anne Maydan Nicotera, Amardo J. Rodriguez, Maurice Hall, and Ronald L Jackson, II

Part II. Ways of Thinking about Organizational Conflict

3. Negotiating Whose Order? Communicating to Negotiate Identities and Revise Organizational Structures
Patricia Geist

4. Institutional Pressures, Cultural Constraints, and Communication in Community mediation Organizations
Charles Conrad and Lucinda Sinclair-James

5. Moral Conflict in Organizations
Stephen W. Littlejohn

Part III. Individual Processes in Organizational Conflict

6. Aggressive Communication in Organizational Contexts: A Synthesis and Review
Andrew S. Rancer

7. Conflict in Organizations: A Competence-Based Approach
Michael J. Papa and Daniel J. Canary

Part IV. Interaction Processes in Organizational Conflict

8. Formal Negotiations: The Productive Side of Organizational Conflict
Linda L. Putnam

9. Cultural and Communication Processes in International Business Negotiations
Steven R. Wilson, Deborah A. Cai, Dedra M. Campbell, William A. Donohue, and Laura E. Drake

10. Negotiations in Crisis
Michael E. Holmes and Tammy S. Fletcher-Bergland

Part V. Conclusion and Speculation

11. Integrating the Chapters: Where Does this Collection Leave Us?
Anne Maydan Nicotera


Author Index

Subject Index

Focuses on the constructive nature of conflict and stresses conflict management as opposed to conflict resolution. Presents a comprehensive view of organizational conflict.


This collection provides a well-rounded view of organizational conflict in three broad categories: ways of thinking about organizational conflict, individual processes, and interaction processes. It enriches the positivistic literature on conflict and organizations with a focus on non-reductionistic views of conflict, individual and interactive processes of conflict, conflict management (as opposed to resolution), and the constructive nature of conflict—aiming at understanding rather than prescription.

Recounting the history of the study of organizational conflict, the book presents alternative views to the traditional positivistic approach and the traditional assumption that conflict is destructive. Rather, conflict is seen as a naturally-occurring human phenomenon, which may manifest itself on different levels with negative or positive outcomes. The book also focuses on the individual, showing how predisposition or skills impact on conflict in the organization, and vice versa. It also examines conflict interaction processes and their reciprocal influence on individuals, the organization, and/or the environment.

Anne Maydan Nicotera is Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Communication Studies at Howard University. She is author of Interpersonal Communication in Friend and Mate Relationships, also published by SUNY Press.


"It pulls together a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives on communicative processes that engender, escalate, and 'bring under control' conflicts in organizations. The book discusses individual and interaction levels of conflicts in organizations as well as interrelationships between the two levels. It also presents brief case studies of different types of organizational conflict that not only illustrate theoretical and methodological perspectives, but also show the relevance of the perspectives to the understanding and managing of conflicts in organizations. Additionally, it analyzes communicative strategies for conflict management. " — Branislav Kovacic, University of Hartford