Knowledge Support Systems for Constructively Channeling Conflict in Group Dynamics

Mildred L. G. Shaw and Brian R. Gaines

The theoretical foundations for individual and collective dynamics are developed in terms of relations between knowledge structures. Neither individuals nor collectives need to be consistent in their knowledge structures to achieve effective performance, and the notion of conflict arises in modeling failures in coordination attributed to such inconsistency. Methodologies for eliciting and modeling knowledge structures from individuals and groups are described, and examples are given of the methodologies applied through computer-based systems to make overt the nature and sources of conflict.

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