The Theory And Research Division has five major missions:
1. Maintain an ongoing research syntheses and review program summarizing the available research on (a) cooperative, competitive, and individualistic efforts and (b) constructive conflict resolution. We have gathered into one place copies of most of the research ever confucted on cooperative, competitive, and individualistic efforts. Many of the articles and books in our archives may be irreplaceable, as they are papers presented at conventions and research reports dating back to 1897. Periodically we publish meta-analyses of the research giving an up-to-date report of what is now known. This archive needs to be continually updated and the results periodically published.
2. Conduct an ongoing theory development program on (a) cooperative, competitive, and individualistic efforts and (b) the constructive resolution of conflicts. The major theory on cooperation and competition is social interdependence theory, the theories underlying constructive conflict are integrative negotiation theory and constructive controversy theory. We are primary theorists in all three areas. But the theories need to be continually critiqued, enhanced, and modified.
3. Conduct a programmatic, long-term field research program to validate theory, examine the relationship between theory and practice, and increase the understanding of the implementation process. Over the past 40 years we have conducted over 100 research studies on cooperative, competitive, and individualistic efforts and dozens of research studies on constructive conflict. This research program needs to be continued.
4. Sponsor theory conferences in which top theorists survey the state of the fields of social interdependence and constructive conflict and formulate new research directions. Each year we bring together the top theorists on social interdependence theory and constructive conflict resolution for a three day conference to share ideas and enhance each other’s conceptualizing. More such conferences need to be conducted bringing together theorists from other parts of the world as well as the United States.
5. Publish materials to disseminate the results of the above activities. A journal needs to be founded in which the research on cooperation and competition and constructive conflict resolution may be published.