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Keywords:

  • conflict;
  • conflict theory;
  • power;
  • interdependence;
  • social relations;
  • negotiation;
  • adaptivity;
  • stimulus fields

The field of conflict resolution is fractured. Despite many decades of fine research, we still lack a basic unifying framework that integrates the many theories of conflict dynamics. Thus, the findings from research on conflict are often piecemeal, decontextualized, contradictory, or focused on negative outcomes, which contributes to a persistent research-practice gap. In this article, we describe a situated model for the study of conflict that combines separate strands of scholarship into a coherent framework for conceptualizing conflict in dyadic social relations. The model considers conflict interactions in the context of social relations and employs prior research on the fundamental dimensions of social relations to create a basic framework for investigating conflict dynamics. The resulting model is heuristic and generative. We discuss the theoretical context and main propositions of this model as well as its implications for conflict resolution practitioners.