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Behavioral Transition: A Framework for the Construction Conflict--Tension Relationship

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2 Author(s)
Tak Wing Yiu ; Hong Kong City Univ., Kowloon ; Sai On Cheung

Conflicts are inevitable in construction projects. One of the reasons is that all construction projects involve complex human interactions. Previous studies have shown that behavioral states can respond dynamically as the magnitude of a conflict increases. This has been empirically demonstrated using a catastrophe-theory-based, three-variable system involving the level of construction conflict, the level of tension, and the amount of behavioral flexibility (Yiu and Cheung, 2006). This paper reports on a study that builds on the above-mentioned study by Yiu and Cheung, and examines the application of moderated multiple regression (MMR) to the three-variable system. It was found that not all MMR models display a significant moderating effect. Two out of six MMR models were found to be significant in their effect. These models affirm that the nature of the relationship between the degree of uncertainty and adversarial attitudes (or mistrust level) varies, depending on the behavioral flexibility of the parties. Disordinal interactions were also found, suggesting that the interaction between behavioral flexibility and the conflict-tension relationship can change radically. Critical points for the degree of uncertainty were also able to be calculated. Beyond these points, even a flexible individual may find difficulty in minimizing or resolving construction conflicts. As such, it is suggested that such radical changes could be prevented by minimizing the degree of uncertainty in construction projects.

Published in:

Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:54 ,  Issue: 3 )