The Role of Conflict Avoidance in the Kibbutz-Community
10 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2007
Date Written: 2007
The current study was designed to elucidate the nature of conflict management styles associated with conflict avoidance and their antecedents in the kibbutz cooperative community. Such a society is characterized by a high degree of participative democracy and collectivism, enrooted in motivation to maintain harmonic and long-lasting relationships.
The study was conducted in four kibbutzim. Seventy one members aged 25-69 participated in the study, of whom 62% were females and 38% were males. The research instruments included Rahim (1983) ROCI-II questionnaire, an open questionnaire to examine conflict strategies in actual conflict situations, and Rhoades & Arnold's (1999) Conflict Responses and Definitions questionnaire, employed to assess conflict management strategies in conflict situations with persons of varying importance to the actor. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with 4 kibbutz members in order to further understand the choice of conflict strategies in specific situations.
This study demonstrates that in contrast with the existing rational models of conflict management, handling conflicts in the cooperative kibbutz community is linked with the characteristics of the protagonists, their mutual relationship, especially the importance attached to these bonds, and the specific conflict course.
The findings point out the limitations of quantitative data in elucidating subtle considerations, underlying strategic choice and use of more indirect ways to handle conflict. Quantitative data by and large illustrated the politically correct conflict management styles (problem solving and compromising), and the normative, rational representations of conflict situations. The qualitative data reveal emotional aspects and hidden considerations, which ensure maintenance and preservation of positive and/or significant relationships.
Keywords: hidden conflicts, conflict avoidance, collectivistic community
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