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Conflict management systems for large scientific research projects

Katharina Löhr (Institute of Socio-Economics, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Müncheberg, Germany)
Frieder Graef (Institute of Land Use Systems, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Müncheberg, Germany)
Michelle Bonatti (Institute of Socio-Economics, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Müncheberg, Germany)
Henry F. Mahoo (Department of Agricultural Engineering and Land Planning, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania)
Jane Wambura (Institute of Socio-Economics, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Müncheberg, Germany)
Stefan Sieber (Institute of Socio-Economics, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Müncheberg, Germany)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 12 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyze the transferability of a conflict management model developed for business organizations to a temporary and international research project to serve as a support tool for internal communication and in case of conflict.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyze the transferability of a conflict management model that was initially developed for business organizations to an international, inter-organizational and temporary research project that is third-party funded. Using a case study, a participatory approach is applied with both qualitative and quantitative methods used.

Findings

The transferability is possible but only with the adaption of conflict prevention. The project’s international and inter-organizational structure further results in a need for decentralization of conflict management responsibilities and diversification of conflict management approaches. Time, financial resources and a high autonomy of cooperation partners limit the degree of participation in the design process.

Research limitations/implications

The research is based on a case study. Research on comparative design processes are needed to verify or extrapolate findings and to help assess the impact of conflict management systems in other large research projects.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the body of knowledge on conflict management systems. By implementing a conflict management system in a temporary, international and scientific project environment, this case study identifies contextual factors relevant for the system design and provides initial test results. As conflict management systems in research projects are not yet prominent, this adapted model of conflict prevention and management can benefit similar projects.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This publication is a product of the project Trans-SEC (www.trans-sec.org) and Food Security Africa (FSA). The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has funded and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has co-financed the project Trans-SEC. The views expressed are purely those of the authors and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the BMBF and BMZ. The Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research ZALF e.V. financed the project FSA. The authors acknowledge the help provided by the Trans-SEC consortium throughout the data collection procedures. The authors would like to thank Felix Wendenburg, Christian Hochmuth and Dirk Sprenger for their valuable comments and advice during the planning and development of this study and the reviewers for their constructive feedback that helped improve this research.

Citation

Löhr, K., Graef, F., Bonatti, M., Mahoo, H.F., Wambura, J. and Sieber, S. (2017), "Conflict management systems for large scientific research projects", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 322-345. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCMA-04-2016-0022

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited