An analysis of the relationship between the conflict management styles of terminated pastors and selected contextual factors
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The purpose of this research was to determine whether or not relationships existed between the conflict management styles of terminated pastors and selected contextual factors. This study should help pastors to better comprehend the relationship between their conflict management style(s) and certain factors leading to conflict. As the research developed and relationships were made, the study revealed important aspects of conflict management that could aid pastors and churches who are making an effort to resolve conflict. This research presented theological presuppositions about conflict and management of conflict by examining biblical word studies and biblical examples. This research yielded a unique study of relationships using the ROCI-II conflict management assessment developed by M. A. Rahim and selected contextual factors: i.e., pastor's age, education and experience; church size, polity, and location; and the reason for termination. The assessment tool for the conflict management styles was the ROCI-II, which consisted of statements/questions worded so as to represent, as much as possible within a sentence, the behaviors depicted for a style in the multi-item measure. These statements representing (1) Integrating, (2) Obliging, (3) Dominating, (4) Avoiding, and (5) Compromising allowed a good assessment of the individual's conflict management style for a comparison to the selected factors. The correlation coefficient Pearson (r) and ANOVA were utilized to examine relationships within the groups and factors. The study involved twenty-six of an estimated ninety terminated pastors in Tennessee who had been displaced in the years from 2005 to 2007. The significance of this study revealed several relationships between pastors' conflict management style(s) and the selected factors with education being a major factor in most correlations. The research results can provide help to pastors by allowing them to better understand how they might respond to conflict and how the response affects the outcome of conflict. Hopefully this research will be used by pastors, church leadership, and/or denominational leadership to help bring about conflict resolution when crisis arrives instead of the termination of a pastor. Keywords . conflict; conflict management; conflict management styles; forced termination; pastor; polity; resolution; ROCI-II; Southern Baptist; Tennessee Baptist; tenure; termination