Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Managerial Sciences

First Advisor

Craig A. Hill - Co-Chair

Second Advisor

G. Peter Zhang - Co-Chair

Third Advisor

Thomas H. Whalen

Fourth Advisor

Richard H. Deane

Fifth Advisor

Joseph Katz

Sixth Advisor

David Barrett


ABSTRACT THE IMPACT OF MOTIVATION AND CONFLICT ESCALATION ON THE FIVE ZONE MODEL FOR PREFERRED CONFLICT HANDLING AND MANAGERIAL DECISION MAKING BY DEWEY WILSON TODD JULY 2005 Committee Chairmen: Dr. Peter Zhang and Dr. Craig Hill Major Department: Managerial Sciences (Decision Sciences) The Todd-Cambridge Preferred Conflict-Handling Mode (PCHM) Instrument is an example of a two-dimensional, five zone model, similar to the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, used to explain how individuals deal with situations in which their desires are in conflict with another individual or group. The instrument, developed for this research, was based on the Managerial Grid (Van de Vliert & Kabanoff, 1990). The two variables in the PCHM model are Assertiveness and Cooperativeness. Two additional interacting, independent variables (Motivation and Conflict Escalation) were posited to affect a sudden change in subject action under situations wherein there are different views of recommended decisions. The third variable being explored by this research is “Motivation”. This represents a measure of one’s degree of attachment with respect to a decision. Motivation may originate in compensation, personal regard or an emotional attachment. The primary theory was that while assertiveness and cooperativeness may be statistically uncorrelated, although interdependent for the purposes of categorization (Van de Vliert & Kabanoff, 1990), motivation creates an interaction effect with the other two variables and can be shown by inserting either a negative or positive motivational vignette between two administrations of the PCHM instrument. In other words, when one is highly motivated on a decision component there will be a predictable change in PCHM. Five of ten hypotheses were supported (null rejected) in investigating the effect of motivation. The fourth variable explored was “Conflict Escalation” – also introduced in the form of a vignette. The purpose was to determine the effect on PCHM when a normal group decision making environment suddenly intensified in conflict. Individuals are classified according to the five preference categories, with one primary preference generally emerging. The research question here was, “…as conflict escalates, does the dominant preference score of the individual change significantly?” This could potentially affect communication and make participants more disparate. In two of the five hypotheses, this theory was supported. The conclusion was that, although PCHM has traditionally been considered static, it can be affected suddenly and with a degree of predictability. This can be evidenced through motivation and conflict escalation.