Understanding High-Stakes Conflicts

In this chapter we argue that an important dimension for understanding how conflict evolves is whether it concerns low- or high-stakes conflicts. As a point of departure, we introduce three recent research projects on high-stakes conflicts, subsequently focusing on (1) conflicts in close relationships following an expatriation assignment for one of the partners, (2) third-party intervention in neighborhood conflicts by community mediators, and (3) crisis negotiations between the police and hostage takers. Our discussion highlights four key areas of attention: the importance of including notions of conflict asymmetry, incorporating a time horizon, alternative conflict management frameworks, and the connection with technological developments.

Giebels, E., Ufkes, E. G., & van Erp, K. J. (2014). Understanding high-stakes conflicts. In N. Ashkanasy, O. B. Ayoko, & K. A. Jehn (Eds.), The Handbook of Research in Conflict Management (pp. 66 – 78). Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.

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