Conflict Decision Processes: With Illustrations from Ireland



Cathal M. Brugha

School of Business, University College Dublin, Ireland.





This paper uses Nomology, a decision science approach to structuring qualitative decisions, to put Drama Theory, and Confrontation and Collaboration Analysis, into a framework based on a succession of dichotomies.  The first dichotomy is based on whether the two parties mainly agree or disagree.  The second is based on whether to use direct or indirect action.  These combine to form four General Political Adjustment Activities, which have corresponding dilemmas: Collaboration (Integration), Cooperation (Agreement), Confrontation (Persuasion) and Conflict (Escalation).  The third dichotomy is based on whether to use a more personal approach or to use one’s position, such as one’s control over resources, people and influence.  This generates eight Principal Political Adjustment Activities along with corresponding Dilemmas: Unilateralism (Backlash), Negotiation (Recognition), Credibility (Awareness), Trust (Renege), Inducement (Rejection), Deterrence (Incitement), Positioning (Vulnerabilty), and Threat (Weakness).  Of these, Unilateralism and Negotiation are new to Drama Theory.  Also, most of the dilemmas are named here for the first time.  The paper is illustrated with examples from conflict in Ireland, and uses the model to suggest how the United States might move away from a unilateralist approach to dealing with international terrorism.


Keywords: Decision Science, Nomology, Systems, Development, Adjustment, Drama Theory, Conflict


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