The Implications of Value Conflict: How Disagreement on Values Affects Self-Involvement and Perceived Common Ground
1 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2011
Date Written: June 27, 2011
We present two studies demonstrating the implications of having different values (vs. instrumental concerns) in a situation where people take conflicting positions. Study 1 (N=266) examined how people respond to a range of conflict issues that were framed either as referring to conflicting values or as referring to conflicting interests. Study 2 (N= 77) used a more immersive methodology, in which participants were led to consider either their values or interests in taking up a particular position, after which they were presented with a confederate who took up the opposite position. Results of both studies converge to demonstrate that framing a particular conflict issue in terms of values causes people to experience more self-involvement, and to perceive less common ground. This is seen as a potential explanation of why value conflicts tend to more easily escalate than conflicts of interests, but also offers scope for interventions that try to de-escalate and resolve the conflict by emphasizing instrumental rather than value differences.
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