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Core Concerns: Affiliation

Core Concerns: Affiliation

Author: marlene johnson

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand the importance of the role of perceived lack of affiliation in creating conflict and the presence of affiliation in a conflict resolution process.

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We all have a strong need to belong. We want to feel like we fit in somewhere, like we're connected to other human beings that are important to us, our family, our friends, the people in groups we belong to, at the places where we worship. This need to belong, to be connected is called affiliation. I'm Marlene, and I'd like to talk with you today about affiliation and how the perceived lack of it can lead to conflict.

First of all, let's define affiliation. Affiliation is a perception that one is emotionally connected to others, emotionally connected. As such, it's one of the core concerns here in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. And core concerns are all connected to the level of esteem and love and belonging. Let's define core concern.

Per the Harvard Negotiation Project, it is one of five emotional or relational needs all humans feel within relationships or in negotiation. So that is a core concern within the esteem and love and belonging level. Affiliation, of course, belongs in love and belonging. That's the level here along the hierarchy.

So let's take a moment and look at how a perceived lack of affiliation, this feeling that we're not connected, we don't belong, we're not getting the love or the intimacy or approval that we would like, how that can lead to conflict. And of course, it depends on the context in your life where you're feeling this.

For example, a couple who has been married maybe a couple of years, this feeling, if it arises in this relationship between the couples, could lead to a conflict, say, over time. One spouse feels that the other spouse is not spending enough time. I barely see him. He's either at work or he is out with his friends. We used to do things together all the time. I can't remember the last time we went out to dinner.

So this feeling for a strong feeling within a relationship like this is for love, for intimacy. If one member of a couple feels that that's missing, it's started to ebb away, that can lead to conflict. In this case, perhaps it's a conflict over time. You never spend any time with me. You're always with your friends. I guess I don't matter to you anymore.

So that's one example of how the need for affiliation within this context of a relationship could lead to conflict. It could lead to conflict within the wider community. The need to have approval from friends, to fit into a particular group.

Let's say you've moved into a new neighborhood. Your family, you've moved into this neighborhood. It's a little bit on the upscale here. And you're a little worried that you're going to be able to live here because things are little bit more expensive than where you lived previously. But you meet the neighbors, and you like the neighbors. And they invite you to go out to dinner at an expensive restaurant.

And they invite you to their home, and they put on quite a showing. So the next time you see them, you invite them to your home, and you feel like you have to go out of your way to entertain in a way that really-- your budget doesn't really account for entertaining in the way that you feel that you should in order to impress these new friends.

So you get into a conflict financially with others in your family over this. We don't have the means to be spending money like this. They make more money than we do. You can't buy the kinds of things that you think you need to buy to fit in with this group. Financial conflict. It could also happen with kids. I think we've seen this in schools, the need for approval, affiliation, fitting in with a particular group can cause a kid to experiment with drinking, with drugs, could lead to a conflict with the law, conflict with parents.

So these are three examples of how the need to belong, a perceived feeling that we don't belong, will cause us to perhaps do some things that could create conflict. Now, in a conflict resolving process, it's important that both parties feel that they are-- that they can work together as a team to resolve the conflict.

And the mediator will encourage both parties to participate, to offer their ideas, their suggestions, when it comes to coming up with an agreement, some ways that they may agree to move forward to resolve the issues. So as each party is contributing to this, that sense of working together, that sense of affiliation, can be created and be satisfied.

So in summary, affiliation is a strong need that we all have as human beings. It's considered a core concern, and on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, it falls here under love and belonging. When we feel it's lacking in our lives, it can lead to conflict.

I've enjoyed being part of this tutorial with you, and I look forward to next time.

Terms to Know

A perception that one is emotionally connected to others.

Core Concern

Per Harvard Negotiation Project, one of 5 emotional or relational needs all humans feel within relationships or in negotiation.