Ten years of conflict management studies
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  International Journal of Conflict Management Ten years of conflict management studies: themes, concepts and relationships Zhenzhong Ma Yender Lee Kuo#Hsun Yu  Article information: To cite this document:Zhenzhong Ma Yender Lee Kuo#Hsun Yu, (2008), Ten years of conflict management studies: themes,concepts and relationships , International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 19 Iss 3 pp. 234 - 248 Permanent link to this document: Downloaded on: 23 August 2014, At: 23:04 (PT)References: this document contains references to 39 other documents.To copy this document: permissions@emeraldinsight.comThe fulltext of this document has been downloaded 3414 times since 2008*Access to this document was granted through an Emerald subscription provided by 474516 [] For Authors If you would like to write for this, or any other Emerald publication, then please use our Emerald forAuthors service information about how to choose which publication to write for and submission guidelinesare available for all. Please visit for more information.  About Emerald Emerald is a global publisher linking research and practice to the benefit of society. The companymanages a portfolio of more than 290 journals and over 2,350 books and book series volumes, as well asproviding an extensive range of online products and additional customer resources and services. Emerald is both COUNTER 4 and TRANSFER compliant. The organization is a partner of the Committeeon Publication Ethics (COPE) and also works with Portico and the LOCKSS initiative for digital archivepreservation. *Related content and download information correct at time of download.    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   N  a   t   i  o  n  a   l   I  n  s   t   i   t  u   t  e  o   f   D  e  v  e   l  o  p  m  e  n   t   A   d  m   i  n   i  s   t  r  a   t   i  o  n   (   N   I   D   A   )   A   t   2   3  :   0   4   2   3   A  u  g  u  s   t   2   0   1   4   (   P   T   )  Ten years of conflict managementstudies: themes, concepts andrelationships Zhenzhong Ma University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada, and  Yender Lee and Kuo-Hsun Yu Chang Jung Christian University, Tainan, Taiwan, China Abstract Purpose  – The purpose of this paper is to map the intellectual structure of conflict managementstudies and to investigate the key themes, concepts, and their relationships of conflict managementliterature in the past decade. Design/methodology/approach  – Citation and co-citation analysis and social network analysiswere used to trace the development path of conflict management research. The data were collected bysearching the SSCI databases, based on 556 journal articles which were published between 1997 and2006, and their cited references were analyzed and profiled. Findings  – The paper shows that conflict management literature focuses on three key themes:workplace conflict and conflict management styles, cultural differences in conflict management, andconflict management in practice. In addition, research on group conflict and work performance hasgained momentum in recent years. Originality/value  – The intellectual structure of conflict management literature has received littleattention in spite that a large number of studies have been done on conflict management. This paperwill expose researchers to a new way of profiling key themes and their relationships in conflictmanagement area, which will help academia and practitioners understand better contemporaryconflict management studies. Keywords  Conflict management, Research, Curriculum development, Knowledge sharing Paper type  Research paper The past decades have seen extensive research on conflict management. Scholars haveexamined different types of conflict management styles and tactics and useda variety of different conceptualizations to explore preferred conflict management style and theirimpactsonintegrative ordistributiveoutcomes. A large number of conflict managementpublicationshavesprung upinvariousjournalsacross differentdisciplines and researchfindings have been disseminated to academia and practitioners in the form of journalarticles, conferences papers, books, and other documents. Great efforts have been madeto explore these publications and to evaluate their contributions to the development of conflict management field in order to further help conflict management area grow. It istime to take a step back to think critically about these decades of research on where wehave been, where we are now, and possibly where we should go in future.Even though conflict management research has gained itself a status of awell-established academic discipline over the past decades, this establishment processhas been slow and encountered many difficulties because quite a few conflictmanagement researchers prefertopublishtheir bestwork inmoreprestigious journals, The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at IJCMA19,3 234 Received 15 August 2007Accepted 5 December 2007 International Journal of ConflictManagementVol. 19 No. 3, 2008pp. 234-248 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited1044-4068DOI 10.1108/10444060810875796    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   N  a   t   i  o  n  a   l   I  n  s   t   i   t  u   t  e  o   f   D  e  v  e   l  o  p  m  e  n   t   A   d  m   i  n   i  s   t  r  a   t   i  o  n   (   N   I   D   A   )   A   t   2   3  :   0   4   2   3   A  u  g  u  s   t   2   0   1   4   (   P   T   )  such as  Journal of Applied Psychology ,  Academy of Management Journal  ,  Journal of  Personality and Social Psychology , among others. Another major obstacle to thedevelopment of conflict management research lies in the subject’s high degree of interdependence on other disciplines. While it is true that conflict managementresearch should not lose this interdependence as an integral part of managementresearch in general, the overlapping blurs the boundaries of conflict managementresearch and, as a result, its distinct models and analytical tools are unjustly attributedto other competing fields. With limited resources and talents contributing to this field,the cross-fertilization of research ideas among scholars of conflict management will bemuch more difficult to obtain.The objective of this study is to provide conflict management researchers with aunique map of conflict management related publications and to describe a systematicand objective mapping of different research themes and concepts in the development of conflict management area. This study also attempts to help researchers identify thelinkage among different publications and confirm their positions in their contributionsto the development of conflict management area. The principal methods of this studyare citation and co-citation analysis, social network analysis, and a factor analysis,which is performed to identify the invisible network of knowledge productionunderlying the conflict management literature. The results will be a profile of scholarsand publications that make the most contribution to the conflict management area, aswell as key themes in conflict management area and their relationships. Studies of academic literature: citation and co-citation analysis There are a large number of techniques that can be used to study a body of literature.Most frequent is the simple literature review where a highly subjective approach isused to structure the earlier work. More objective and quantitative techniques becomesavailable for use to analyze author citations, co-citations, and systematic review(Rogers, 1995) in order to examine the knowledge network embodied in the academiccommunicationprocess bymeans ofwritten andpublishedwork ofagivenfield. Thesetechniques are attractive because they are more objective and unobtrusive (Holsapple et al. , 1993).Among various methods developed in the last three decades, citation analysis is theearliest and the most widely used method that can be used to quantify this process.Merton (1979) claimed: Citationindexinghasbeen astandardofscientificbibliography formorethanadecade butitssociological and historical research potentials have not yet been fully realized. Within all academic disciplines, researchers typically cluster into informal networksthat focus on common questions in common ways (Price, 1963), and within thesenetworks, one scholar’s concepts and results may be picked up by another, to beextended, tested, and refined. Therefore, the history of the exchanges betweenmembers of these networks, revealed in patterns of citations, describes the intellectualstructure of a field. When one scholar cites prior work of another, citation analysisprovides a means of documenting this process. Citation analysis is based on thepremise that authors cite papers they consider to be important to the development of their research. Consequently, heavily cited articles are likely to have exerted a greaterinfluence on the subject than those less frequently cited. Conflictmanagementstudies 235    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   N  a   t   i  o  n  a   l   I  n  s   t   i   t  u   t  e  o   f   D  e  v  e   l  o  p  m  e  n   t   A   d  m   i  n   i  s   t  r  a   t   i  o  n   (   N   I   D   A   )   A   t   2   3  :   0   4   2   3   A  u  g  u  s   t   2   0   1   4   (   P   T   )  Mapping conflict management studies between 1997 and 2006 The data used in this study included the articles, authors, publication journals, dates,and citations. Based on the objective of this study, the authors explored the intellectualstructure of conflict management studies between 1997 and 2006. This study chose thistime period because the conflict management studies of the last decade represent themost important and the most updated research in conflict management area. Citationand co-citation analysis is the main method for this study. With citation and co-citationanalysis, this research assumed three phases, each of which required different methodsto examine the evolution of the conflict management studies. First, the databases wereidentified as the sources of conflict management publications. Then data collection andanalysis techniques were designed to collect the desired information about the topics,authors, and journals on conflict management research.In the second phase, the collected data were analyzed and systematized by sorting,summing, sub-totaling, ranking, and screening. After a series of operations, key nodesin the invisible network of knowledge in conflict management studies were identifiedand the structures developed. In the final phase, the knowledge network of conflictmanagement was mapped to describe the knowledge distribution process in conflictmanagement area. The objective of the third phase research was to explore the patternof change in star scholars or publications that have the most influence and, hopefully,to project future research directions.For the data presented here, the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) was used asparts of the databases. The SSCI was widely used database, which included citationspublished in over 2000 refereed journals. Using SSCI provided the most comprehensiveand widely accepted database of conflict management publications.Unlike other prior studies, data used in this study were not drawn from journalschosen by the peer researchers (Holsapple  et al. , 1993; Walstrom and Leonard, 2000).Instead, the entire database of SSCI from 1997 to 2006 served as the universe forconducting the analysis. In order to choose sample articles, this study uses “key word”method which utilizes the SSCI database key word search in article’s title and abstract.Using “conflict management”, “conflict resolution”, “conflict style”, and “conflicthandling” as key words, this study collected 556 journal articles which cited 15,752published documents as references. The cited publications in these papers include bothpublished books and journal articles. Citation analysis To identify the key publications and scholars who have laid down the groundwork of conflict management, citation data were tabulated for each of the 556 sourcedocuments using the Excel package. The citation analysis produced interestingbackground statistics, as shown in the following tables. Table I lists the mostfrequently cited journals of the past decade in the conflict management literature,among which  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology ,  Academy of Management  Journal  ,  International Journal of Conflict Management   are the most cited conflictmanagement journals. It is interesting to notice that the  International Journal of Conflict Management  , the journal specified in conflict management, is ranked Number3, only behind  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology  and  Academy of  Management Journal  , and it is even ranked higher than some prestigious journals like  Journal of Applied Psychology  and  Psychological Bulletin.  This confirms the status of conflict management as a well-established field that already has its own IJCMA19,3 236    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   N  a   t   i  o  n  a   l   I  n  s   t   i   t  u   t  e  o   f   D  e  v  e   l  o  p  m  e  n   t   A   d  m   i  n   i  s   t  r  a   t   i  o  n   (   N   I   D   A   )   A   t   2   3  :   0   4   2   3   A  u  g  u  s   t   2   0   1   4   (   P   T   )
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