Winter, Erin Leah
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This study explores how members of a cycling team (Team Hamilton) manage conflict in the context of a team. Team Hamilton is a distinct type of team because it lacks rigid formal organizational mechanisms, members compete with each other, members depend on one another in various ways, and they have single stranded yet deep relationship ties. These features structure the morally moderate, interpersonal conflict among team members, which they manage by using strategies such as toleration, gossip, mockery, sabotage, and avoidance. To explain the variation in conflict management team members use, I draw on Donald Black’s (1993) theory of conflict management. Black seeks to explain conflict in terms of its social structure or social geometry – its location and direction in a multidimensional social space. This strategy assumes that social life obeys principles of its own that are independent of the characteristics of the individuals involved. Guided by this theory, this work offers an explanation of conflict, of why, how, where it occurs, as well as the form it takes.