Group Decision and Negotiation

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 489–507 | Cite as

Ripeness and Grief in Conflict Analysis



In assessing the timing of a conflict resolution effort, one of the most frequently used explanatory frameworks is ripeness theory. Despite its popularity, ripeness theory has some limitations: poorly established generalization outside international situations, empirical validation is difficult to objectify, limited consideration of non-rational factors, and low predictability. The purpose of our study is to contribute to enriching ripeness theory by bringing in the theory of grief developed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. The anchovy fishing conflict in the Bay of Biscay (off the coast of France and Spain) lends itself to this type of analysis, as it is a conflict that has seen many reversals, making the place of resolution efforts hard to explain. It is from this perspective that grief theory is put forward as a complementary explanatory model. The model is tested using an original methodology that has the merit of being reproducible through the lexical analysis of newspaper articles. The results, confirming the grief model’s relevance, can then be proposed as an enhancement to ripeness theory by incorporating the grief model. This improvement leads to a better understanding of the issues of initiating a conflict resolution effort.


Conflict Ripeness Grief Escalation Readiness Turning points 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnaud Stimec
    • 1
  • Patrice Guillotreau
    • 1
  • Jean Poitras
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Économie et de Management de Nantes Atlantique (LEMNA)Université de NantesNantesFrance
  2. 2.HEC MontréalMontrealCanada

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