Value conflict: How differences in values affect conflict escalation and the effectiveness of interventions

Due to ethnic diversity and globalization, conflicts between individuals are increasingly characterized by differences in core values between parties with different socio-cultural identities. Value conflicts can create interpersonal and intergroup tension at different levels of society. Fieke Harinck recently received an NWO conflict and safety grant, and with this grant she is planning to investigate how value conflict develop, when they escalate, and how they can be resolved

Fieke Harinck

Fieke Harinck

Fieke Harinck

Fieke Harinck studied social psychology at the Free University in Amsterdam, and graduated in 1996 on the topic of sacrifice in intimate relationships. After her graduation, she started a PhD-project under the supervision of professor Carsten De Dreu at the University of Amsterdam. Her dissertation was about negotiation issues; she showed that negotiations in which different values or beliefs play an important role are harder to solve than negotiations in which scarce resources—such as time or money— are important. Fieke Harinck defended her dissertation in 2001, and in the same year she started her current job as an assistant professor at the section of Social and Organizational Psychology in Leiden


The project

The project is a collaborative effort of professor Naomi Ellemers, dr. Daan Scheepers, dr. Bianca Beersma, drs. Said Shafa, dr. Marina Kouzakova, dr. Harinck and a future PhD-student. The project is a continuation of the research that Harinck did at the University of Amsterdam. In her dissertation work, she found out that value conflicts—when people disagree about fundamental beliefs, norms or values— are very hard to solve because these conflicts involve people’s identities, and people do not want to yield on these issues. In the current research project Harinck and colleagues will take a closer look at how these personal issues affect conflict management and conflict resolutions. They will study the development and escalation, the effectiveness of different interventions for reconciliation and the impact of cultural differences in value conflict. Harinck and colleagues will use several different methodologies, for example fysiological measurements in the lab, field studies and scenario studies.

Expectations

Due to ethnic diversity and globalization, conflicts between individuals are increasingly characterized by differences in core values between parties with different socio-cultural identities. Value conflicts can create interpersonal and intergroup tension at different levels of society. Therefore, this study will help understand how value conflict develops, when it escalates, and how it can be resolved. Moreover, Harinck and colleagues will study intercultural differences between the native Dutch culture and honor culture. Important ethnic minorities in the Netherlands (the Turkish, Moroccan or Hindustan population) can be viewed as having an honor culture. Recently, there have been many conflicts between members of the native Dutch population and members of one of these ethnic minorities (e.g., the murder of Theo Van Gogh, the violence at Terra College, the hand-shaking incident between the Imam Ahmad Salam and Minister Verdonk). With this research, Harinck and colleagues hope to acquire knowledge that will help find ways to diminish or avoid these conflicts.

The future

Harinck is interested in many things, maybe too many things. Besides conflict research, she also studies economic behavior and loss aversion, breaks in negotiations, and the circumstances of “being touched”. Harinck explains: ‘The best thing of working at a university is that there is a lot of freedom to investigate the things you are interested in, and I do not think there will ever be an end to all the interesting things I want to study’.

Last Modified: 17-12-2009