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Frame Conceptualisations

Sarah Ogilvie

Researchers in the conflict frame arena largely hold the view that conflict frames are mental representations of the way we perceive events (Donnellon & Gray, 1989; Pinkley, 1990). Information entering our awareness is framed in a particular way when digested and is framed in a particular way when communicated to other individuals. Effectively, the perceptions of both parties serve to influence the process. Other researchers in the conflict resolution field employ the term negotiator focus or conflict domain to refer to a similar phenomenon (Donohue et al., 1994; Wehr, 1979). A more recent conceptualisation, however, defines frames not as cognitions but rather as the result of expressing these cognitions through the communication that occurs between disputing parties (Drake & Donohue, 1996). These researchers describe their frame concept accordingly as the communicative frame (Drake & Donohue, 1996). Although these concepts differ in the way that they locate the process of framing, these disparities have not fostered significant variations in the way that frames have been measured in the field of conflict resolution and negotiation. For the sake of conciseness, the implied concept will subsequently be referred to as a conflict frame.

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