Research Topic

Conflict Management and Trust Relationships in Organizations

About this Research Topic

Conflict management research recognizes that conflicts are part of organizational dynamics. Conflicts are not necessarily destructive, and a constructive way of conflict management is possible if a joint problem-solving approach is stimulated in organizational settings. The role of cooperation in organizational life, particularly in conflict management, is now well-established. One important antecedent, as well as consequence of cooperation in organizations, is mutual trust. However, few studies have empirically examined the dynamic relations between cooperative behaviors, trust relationships, and conflict management outcomes. Therefore, the aim of this Research Topic is to promote research on constructive conflict management and trust in organizational life.

Constructive conflict management in this article collection is built on the assumption of recognition of the different interests of the parties involved and negotiations to meet acceptable solutions for the parties. This assumption arises from the grounded theory that employers and employees, team members, organizational members, and customers are essentially and positively dependent on each other, despite also potentially conflicting interests. Trust is an essential factor to build intra-organizational relations and cooperation and it has positive outcomes at an interpersonal, team, and organizational levels. At the same time, trust is a vulnerable component of any relationship, easy to break yet difficult to repair. A successful cooperative conflict resolution outcome requires a maximum of gathering and exchange of information between parties in order to help identify interests, problems and areas of mutual concerns, searching for alternative solutions, assessing their implications, and achieving openness about preferences to select optimal solutions. Trust gives parties the confidence to be open with each other knowing that the shared information will not be used against them.

Managers, supervisors, employees, employee representatives, among others, are expected to accept conflicts as part of the organizational dynamics and deal with them constructively. However, negative consequences of using destructive or competitive conflict management strategies are well-known in the form of financial and reputation losses, strikes including strong violence, interpersonal harassment, suicides, and so on. The seriousness of these consequences leads to the stimulation of research, evidence-based interventions, and training of practitioners on issues of trust, cooperation and conflict management at the interpersonal, team, and organizational levels.

We invite papers that might focus on a wide range of substantive organizational issues on conflict management in relation to trust in the business world, as well as in educational and health care institutions. Possible themes/research questions could be (not limited to):
• Trust and managing conflicts
• Building and repairing trust in conflict management
• Building a collaborative conflict management culture
• Trust and the role of the psychological contract in conflict management
• Conflict management and trust in industrial relations at an organizational level
• Promoting integrative negotiation agreements in different organizational settings
• Interventions for building trust in conflict management
• How to negotiate under conditions of low trust

We welcome conceptual, evidence-based interventions, and empirical papers. Qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as innovative methods, are endorsed.


Keywords: conflict, negotiation, trust, cooperation, organizations


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Conflict management research recognizes that conflicts are part of organizational dynamics. Conflicts are not necessarily destructive, and a constructive way of conflict management is possible if a joint problem-solving approach is stimulated in organizational settings. The role of cooperation in organizational life, particularly in conflict management, is now well-established. One important antecedent, as well as consequence of cooperation in organizations, is mutual trust. However, few studies have empirically examined the dynamic relations between cooperative behaviors, trust relationships, and conflict management outcomes. Therefore, the aim of this Research Topic is to promote research on constructive conflict management and trust in organizational life.

Constructive conflict management in this article collection is built on the assumption of recognition of the different interests of the parties involved and negotiations to meet acceptable solutions for the parties. This assumption arises from the grounded theory that employers and employees, team members, organizational members, and customers are essentially and positively dependent on each other, despite also potentially conflicting interests. Trust is an essential factor to build intra-organizational relations and cooperation and it has positive outcomes at an interpersonal, team, and organizational levels. At the same time, trust is a vulnerable component of any relationship, easy to break yet difficult to repair. A successful cooperative conflict resolution outcome requires a maximum of gathering and exchange of information between parties in order to help identify interests, problems and areas of mutual concerns, searching for alternative solutions, assessing their implications, and achieving openness about preferences to select optimal solutions. Trust gives parties the confidence to be open with each other knowing that the shared information will not be used against them.

Managers, supervisors, employees, employee representatives, among others, are expected to accept conflicts as part of the organizational dynamics and deal with them constructively. However, negative consequences of using destructive or competitive conflict management strategies are well-known in the form of financial and reputation losses, strikes including strong violence, interpersonal harassment, suicides, and so on. The seriousness of these consequences leads to the stimulation of research, evidence-based interventions, and training of practitioners on issues of trust, cooperation and conflict management at the interpersonal, team, and organizational levels.

We invite papers that might focus on a wide range of substantive organizational issues on conflict management in relation to trust in the business world, as well as in educational and health care institutions. Possible themes/research questions could be (not limited to):
• Trust and managing conflicts
• Building and repairing trust in conflict management
• Building a collaborative conflict management culture
• Trust and the role of the psychological contract in conflict management
• Conflict management and trust in industrial relations at an organizational level
• Promoting integrative negotiation agreements in different organizational settings
• Interventions for building trust in conflict management
• How to negotiate under conditions of low trust

We welcome conceptual, evidence-based interventions, and empirical papers. Qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as innovative methods, are endorsed.


Keywords: conflict, negotiation, trust, cooperation, organizations


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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