Think about « doing better » and « not doing worse » at the same time

By | 17 septembre 2019

Professor Regina Kim and her colleague recently published a research paper that examines the role of regulatory focus in conflict management domains from a new perspective. Regulatory focus describes people’s two distinct goals: promotion focus that focuses on hopes and accomplishments (i.e., gains) and prevention focus that focuses on safety and responsibilities (i.e., non-losses). The research group suggests that a combination of the two, “doing better” and “not doing worse,” is a a more optimal regulatory focus in conflict. This combination reflects a mix of promotion and prevention considerations because conflict often elicits needs for promoting well-being as well as needs for preventing threats to security and interests.

They found that the combined focus resulted in greater satisfaction with expected conflict outcomes and goal attainment than did either prevention or promotion framing alone. However, a promotion frame alone was associated with greater process and relationship satisfaction. Prior research on regulatory focus has emphasized the benefits of a promotion focus over prevention when managing conflict. Professor Regina Kim and her colleagues offer new insight into how these seemingly opposing motives can operate in tandem to increase conflict satisfaction. Thus, this research illustrates the value of moving beyond dichotomized motivational distinctions in conflict research, to understand the dynamic interplay of how these distinctions may be navigated in concert for more effective conflict engagement. One take-away, the next when you are confronting conflicts, maybe you can try to synthesize your thoughts to think about how to “do better” and how to “not do worse” at the same time.

To read the original article:

Coleman, P., Kugler, K., Vallacher, R. and Kim, R. (2019), « Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst « , International Journal of Conflict Management, 30(1), 45-64.

Professor Regina Kim is one member of ICoN. You can find more information about ICoN team members here:


Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts/articles are those of the author (s) alone and do not represent those of IÉSEG School of Management /ICON. ICON welcomes all feedback and comment on articles posted on this blog:

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