Conflict Escalation: Dispute Exacerbating Elements of E-Mail Communication

37 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2004

See all articles by Ray Friedman

Ray Friedman

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior

Steven C. Currall

University College London - Faculty of Engineering Sciences; London Business School

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Abstract

In this paper, we proffer new theoretical ideas regarding how the structural features of e-mail make it more likely that disputes escalate when people communicate electronically compared to when they communicate face-to-face or via the telephone. Building upon Rubin, Pruitt, and Kim's (1994) conflict escalation model, we propose a new conceptual framework that articulates: (1) the structural properties of e-mail communication, (2) the impact of these properties on conflict process effects, and (3) how process effects, in turn, trigger conflict escalation. Propositions specify the nature of relationships among process effects and the components of conflict escalation. We also discuss how the extent of familiarity between individuals acts as a moderator of these relationships. Our conceptual framework, the dispute exacerbating model of e-mail (DEME), is designed to be a foundation for future empirical research.

Keywords: Conflict, e-mail, escalation

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Raymond A. and Currall, Steven C., Conflict Escalation: Dispute Exacerbating Elements of E-Mail Communication. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=459429 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.459429

Raymond A. Friedman (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://mba.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/rfriedman.cfm

Steven C. Currall

University College London - Faculty of Engineering Sciences ( email )

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London
United Kingdom
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London Business School ( email )

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United Kingdom
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44 0 20 7679 3209 (Fax)

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