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Literature Review

Literature Review

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Published by Robert Macomber
A seminar paper
Presented to
The Graduate Faculty
University of Wisconsin-Superior
In partial fulfillment
Of the requirement for the degree
Masters in Arts in Mass Communication
A seminar paper
Presented to
The Graduate Faculty
University of Wisconsin-Superior
In partial fulfillment
Of the requirement for the degree
Masters in Arts in Mass Communication

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Categories:Types, Reviews
Published by: Robert Macomber on Mar 01, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/10/2014

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Running Head: A LITERATURE REVIEW OF CONFLICT COMMUNICATIONAND TRANSFOMRATIVE MEDIATIONA Literature Review of Conflict Communication and Transformative MediationA seminar paper Presented toThe Graduate FacultyUniversity of Wisconsin-Superior In partial fulfillmentOf the requirement for the degreeMasters in Arts in Mass CommunicationByRobert Cody Macomber 2006- 1 -
 
Introduction
The purpose of this literature review is to discern and articulate common and/or inter related themes present in mediation and conflict communication research. I havereviewed articles, books, and theses on the topic. Several themes have emerged from myreading. Before I start identifying themes, let me define conflict and mediation. 
Definition of Conflict
Mayer (2000), author of 
The Dynamics of Conflict Resolution
, builds a“framework for understanding conflict” for his readers as “an organizing lens that bringsconflict into better focus.” In this framework, “conflict may be viewed as occurring alongcognitive (perception), emotional (feeling), and behavior (action) dimensions(p. 4).Mayer (2000) elaborates on the nature of each dimension. The author states that as a setof perceptions, “conflict is a belief or understanding that one’s own needs, interests,wants, or values are incompatible with someone else’s.” Later on, the author states, “it ishard for people to compromise when core beliefs are in play, because they feel they arecompromising themselves or their integrity” (p.12). This claim is reinforced by Frank’s(2004) assertion that both participants in an “argument could hold different values thatmay conflict; yet both still articulate logical” argumentation (p. 269).The “feeling” dimension Mayer (2000) conceptualized involves “an emotionalreaction to a situation or interaction that signals a disagreement of some kind” (p.4).Mayer (2000) claims “conflict as action” “consists of the actions that we take to expressour feelings, articulate our perceptions, and get our needs met in a way that has the potential for interfering with someone else’s ability to get his or her needs met” (p.5).Wilmot and Hocker (2001) also see conflict as action in speech, defining conflict as a- 2 -
 
communicative process between parties who “perceive incompatible goals, limitedresources, and interference from each other in achieving individual goals” (p. 41). Wrede,(2003), a professional mediator, utilizes this shared understanding that conflictnecessitates intercommunication about perceived conflicting interests or values with thesame detached third person perspective: “Conflict involves interaction between or amongtwo or more interdependent (resolution requires both) parties (disputants) who haveconflicting or incompatible goals” (p.2).Bush and Folger (1994) have named what they perceive the three primary perspectives of conflict. These are the “distributive view,” (p.57) “problem-solvingview,” (p.58) and “transformative view” (p.81). Bush and Folger (1994) maintain thatthe problem-solving view of conflicts is as “problems of sets of incompatible interests”(p.58). In other words, conflicts are seen as problems to be solved. The distributive viewdefines conflict as “an adversarial, winner-take-all contest among competing claimantsfor resources” (p. 57). Bush and Folger’s (1994) transformative view of conflict holds a“different premise…that disputes can be viewed
not 
as problems at all but asopportunities for moral growth and transformation...in both dimensions of moral growth(self and other)” (p. 81, 82).The distributive view of conflict is the most applicable with Mayer’s (2000)definition of conflict, although the problem solving view could fit with Mayer’s (2000)definition as well. Wilmot and Hocker (2001) and Wrede’s (2003) definitions are mostaligned with what Bush and Folger (1994) call the “problem solving view” (p. 58).Mayer’s (2000), Wilmot and Hocker (2001), and Wrede’s (2003) definitions had perceived incompatible goals and intercommunication between those in conflict. The- 3 -

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