Conflict strength is defined as the cooperative incentive – i.e., the difference between a negotiator’s joint optimum and the negotiator’s compromise – divided by the competitive incentive – i.e., the difference between a negotiator’s individual optimum and the negotiator’s compromise. The resulting proportion of the cooperative to the competitive incentive is subtracted from 1 so that greater values indicate more interpersonal conflict and higher conflict strength.
The conflict strength coefficient ranges between 0 and 1.
When the CSC is 0 the competitive incentives equal the cooperative incentives. This indicates that there is no interpersonal conflict because both parties’ interests are fully compatible.
When the CSC is 1 the competitive incentives exceed the cooperative incentives by 100%. This indicates that both parties’ interests are diametrically opposed in a fully distributive zero-sum negotiation with high levels of interpersonal conflict.
The CSC can be interpreted as the percentage to which the negotiator’s competitive incentives surpass her cooperative incentives.
Higher CSC scores indicate more distributive conflict structures, offer less integrative potential, and elicit more interpersonal conflict.