An assessment of pastors' moral development stage related to conflict management styles
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This dissertation is an assessment of senior pastors' moral development stage and its relation to how they manage conflict. As pastors understand how they reason and how they deal with conflict, they will be better prepared to deal with conflicts that arise in a church. The research presupposes that Lawrence Kohlberg's stage-development theory is an accurate portrayal of how moral development occurs in human beings. It used the Defining Issues Test, developed by James Rest, the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument developed by Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann, and demographic questions to survey the sample. The population of this research was senior pastors of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. Both the Analysis of Variance statistic and the t -Test statistic were used to examine the relationships explored in the research questions. The study found a relationship between a pastor's moral development stage and certain styles of conflict management. The higher a pastors moral development stage, the less likely he was to use accommodation as a preferred method of conflict management. Also, relationships were discovered between training in conflict and conflict management style. Formal training had an inverse relationship to conflict avoidance and seminar training had a direct relationship to conflict accommodation. The research will help pastors understand themselves and how they deal with conflict. The research can serve as a resource for churches in leadership development. The research can provide valuable information for pastoral search committees. The research could also provide important data to seminaries and other institutions that train pastors.