Publication details [#7767]

McCorkle, Suzanne and Janet L. Mills. 1992. Rowboat in a hurricane: Metaphors of interpersonal conflict management. 10 pp.


In interpersonal conflict management, metaphors-cognitive structures that help individuals understand their world-can function as models for how conflicts should be negotiated. University students (N = 349) used 616 interpersonal conflict metaphors resulting in 28 categories; these contradicted the categories previously specified in the literature. Results support the prevalence of negative interpersonal conflict metaphors. The significance of studying metaphors of conflict management is not in the metaphors but in understanding how a particular metaphor suggests a model of the conflict management process-wherever one model dominates the discourse about conflict, the choices of the participants in conflict are limited; the benefit of studying interpersonal conflict metaphors lies in (1) discovering which metaphors dominate the discourse of persons in conflict, (2) explicating the assumptions of those metaphorical models, and (3) creating new metaphors that may offer more productive options to those in conflict. (Copyright 1993, Sociological Abstracts, Inc., all rights reserved) (LLBA 1993, vol. 27, n. 3)