4 Tutorials that teach Core Concerns: Status
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Core Concerns: Status

Core Concerns: Status


At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand the importance of feelings of status in a conflict resolution process and the role of perceived threat to status in creating conflict.

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What's Covered

In this lesson, we’ll discuss the role of status in both creating and resolving conflict.

The areas of focus include:

  1. Status as a core concern
    1. In conflict
    2. In conflict resolution


In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a core concern, per the Harvard Negotiation Project, is one of five emotional or relational needs all humans feel within relationships or negotiations. All of these core needs fit into the esteem and love/belonging levels on Maslow's hierarchy.

Status, or a state of rank or ascription of value and importance in a given situation, is a core concern that falls on the esteem level in Maslow’s Hierarchy.

When we work hard and do a good job, we want others to recognize and respect the work we’ve done because that recognition contributes to our self-esteem.

Terms to Know

    • Core Concern
    • Per Harvard Negotiation Project, one of 5 emotional or relational needs all humans feel within relationships or in negotiation.
    • Status
    • A state of “rank” or ascription of value and importance in a given situation.

a. In Conflict

When we feel that we are not getting esteem from others -- that we either don't have status or that our status isn’t being recognized -- this can lead to conflict in a variety of contexts.

Example Let’s say you're the youngest in your family; you have older brothers and sisters. Growing up, you were always known as the baby of the family, but now you're an adult. You feel that when you go to family gatherings, you're still being treated like a child; that old family structure is still there. You start to get annoyed because you don't feel as though you’re listened to or heard in the same way as your older siblings.

Then perhaps you need to help the family make some decisions about your aging parents. They want to move out of the home, and they're looking for another place to live. You've done some research that you want to share with your siblings, and you feel that your opinion and knowledge here is valuable.

However, you don't feel like you're being listened to because what you say doesn’t seem to have the same status as the opinions of your older brothers and sisters. This could certainly lead to conflict with your siblings.

Example This need for status can also be present in a work relationship. Perhaps you've been working at a company for some time. You and your colleagues have collected a wealth of knowledge about the way things work. As far as you're concerned, this knowledge is invaluable; you know it has been recognized and respected in the past.

But you now feel that you are being overlooked or bypassed for promotions, some of which are going to younger people who don’t have the experience, knowledge, or skills that you and some of your colleagues have. You feel that your rank is not being respected or recognized in the way that it should be. This feeling can lead to a conflict with these younger workers over status.

b. In Conflict Resolution

Within a conflict resolution process, it is important to recognize the role of status since a perceived lack of status can be at the heart of a dispute.

When two parties sit down together to work out an agreement, a recognition of:

  • The skills
  • The knowledge
  • The input

That each party is bringing to the process can be very helpful in resolving the conflict. Recognizing these contributions helps get the parties together as a team that can collaborate on a solution.


In this lesson, you learned that the esteem and love/belonging levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs also include core concerns; status is a core concern that falls into the esteem category.

You now understand that because status is the need to to be given recognition, respect, or value in a particular situation, the perception that it’s lacking can result in conflict. This is why the conflict resolution process is designed to create a sense of equal status between the parties, enabling them to collaborate on a solution.

Good luck!

Source: Adapted from Sophia tutorial by Marlene Johnson.

  • Core Concern

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

  • Status

    A state of "rank" or ascription of value and importance in a given situation.