Formal Education Valences in the Conflict Management within Competitive Sport

Research Article

Austin Sports Med. 2016; 1(1): 1005.

Formal Education Valences in the Conflict Management within Competitive Sport

Abalasei B*

Department of Physical Education and Sport, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Romania

*Corresponding author: Beatrice Abalasei, Department of Physical Education and Sport, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iasi, Romania

Received: March 21, 2016; Accepted: April 14, 2016; Published: April 18, 2016


Education, as factor of personality formation and development, has always had a fundamental role in the growth and progress of the individual, the formal period being underlined through its decisive valences in the modelling process of the human being. This study aims to identify the correlation between the cognitive levels of the subjects (athletes in the senior high-school year and athletes in their first year of college) included in the study and the response style to conflict, when they are in tense, conflict situations, specific to the sports environment, through a questionnaire.

The conflict response style, operationalized on five dimensions: the abandonment style, the repression style, the win-lose style, the compromise style, and the win-win style.

The study outcomes underline that education has a very important role in the sports activity, with the two systems (educational and of high performance) collaborating to create a performance-centred athlete, eliminating the factors which could block high results.

Even though sport cannot be considered the “repair workshop” for (wrong) social actions, it does have the tools necessary for the elimination of destructive tensions (catharsis) and for integration, depending on the educational level.

Keywords: Formal education; Conflict response styles; Sport; Communication


Formal education has as objective the formation of human being, its natural individuality, it updates virtues and it sets free the energies of the soul in order to develop the psychic faculties and functions. It must be well organized for a good functioning of the intellect, for a normal expression of feelings and for a constant manifestation of the will, in order to eliminate all aspects that could obstruct the natural individuality.

From the analogy of a simple parallelism, metaphorically speaking, getting the inspiration from Pastelozzi’s thinking, the power of the soul enriches and fortifies through exercise, just as gymnastics develops the physical condition of the individual. In this context, formal education remains even after the knowledge is forgotten. The school setting considerably widens the universe of the social actor, answering to curiosity and to the need of mental clarification. All that is done in school is for the good of the society and of the individual, even though the syllabus is rigid; “school may be analyzed as a selfmanaging organization, focused on the socializing function, on transmitting the values promoted by the society” [1].

The formal education, forming the individual, also comprises physical education and sports, which determines us to analyze the way in which approaching conflict situations, group communication, and conflict solving influence the educational level. Sport training has become an instructive educative process, with physical formative valences, in order to make the individual surpass himself, to have great results. Nevertheless, without an intellectual, moral, artistic, musical, sexual, and religious education, without an education for peace and co-operation, as well as one for nutrition, the individual cannot valorise his aptitudes, and the destructive energies appear.

The elements which define the sports phenomenon are illustrated though the demands of contemporary training, of competition, of motivation, and of the performance level. The coach or physical education teacher, besides the physical modelling of children and athletes, also ensures the education of the collective. Sports training is a disciplinarian process, of correcting wrong habits - those specific to the sport practiced and the social, behavioural ones. The problems related to sports training led to the necessity of creating systems for practical-methodical, organizational, and prospective aspects, with a great number of athlete-specific norms, principles, methods, and rules. All these require a good formal education, to ensure the functional support of the athlete and his communication mechanism, constituting the cognitive baggage based upon the plasticity of man’s higher nervous activity. They represent “the conditioning (conditioned reflex) processes, to adapt, the processes of experience (information) storage, the organization of behaviours useful to the adaptation (including the social one), through the selection, transfer, and generalization, the imitation (spontaneous, but also voluntary), contamination, rationalization, and awareness of social, moral, ideological values, and the way they are seen (oriented learning)” [2].

From the specialists’ perspective [3], conflict represents the interaction of interdependent people who perceive incompatible goals and interference from each other in achieving those goals. The social character of conflict, focused on the interpersonal dimension, by omitting the intra and inter-group conflicts, is obvious. There are premises for a conflict to occur when it is perceived by one of the parties, but this mention does not represent the objective reasons to explain the cause of a conflictual situation which can escalade and turn into physical aggression. Sport is based on competition, contest, reason for which conflictual situations appear rapidly, given that, as J. Z. Rubin, Pruit and Kim [4] state, “a perceived divergence of interests, or a belief that the parties’ current aspirations cannot be achieved simultaneously” may lead to destructive reactions.

A conflict cannot be eradicated or promoted, as every situation which causes controversies is natural and dependent on the experiences and expectations of an individual at a given moment. It is a continuous struggle between what it is and what it should be according to individuals’ temperament, an incongruence seizing the human activity, and it is essential to its functioning, motivating us to reach new objectives, revealing the conflict [5,6]. Communication has a very important role in both solving the conflict, and during the actual solving process, as it is easy to understand that the message transmitting skills are improved in school.

Because the world is very complex and the conflicts within the group (intra-group) the competition relationship with the adversaries (inter-group conflicts) and the athletes’ performance, we need an investigative project to identify the variables contributing to the rebalance of the atmosphere within a sports group. The conflict response styles will depend on these variables - in our case, on the formal education.

The research had as objective investigating the influence of formal education on the conflict response styles of the individuals included in the training program of competitive sport. Thus, we were interested in identifying a relationship between the educational level of competitive athletes and their behaviour in the tense, conflictual situations within the world of sports. We have focused upon this objective because, on the basis of the literature in the field and of our own experience, we have concluded that the educational factor plays an important role in reducing the importance of certain deviant conflict response styles [7] and even in developing new styles of optimally relating to and approaching conflictual situations.

Materials and Methods

Research hypotheses

General hypothesis: Formal education has positive valences on the conflict response styles in case of the competitive athletes.

Specific hypotheses

Specific hypothesis 1: We estimate that the conflict response styles, abandonment, repression, and win-lose will be more developed at competitive high-school athletes, in comparison to the competitive college athletes.

Specific hypothesis 2: We estimate that the conflict response styles, win-win, and compromise/collaboration will be less developed at competitive high-school athletes, in comparison to the competitive college athletes.

The sample

The sample comprises 100 subjects, athletes randomly selected among the students within the Sports High-School, Iasi, Romania and within the Faculty of Sports and Physical Education, city of Iasi, Romania. Depending on the gender variable, the sample comprises 77 male subjects and 23 female subjects. In the same sense, depending on the studies variable, the sample comprises 51 high-school students and 49 college students. We present below a graphic illustration depending on the studies and gender variables.



Independent variable: Formal education - 2 levels

(1) High-school

(2) College

Dependent variables: The conflict response style, operationalized on five dimensions: the abandonment style, the repression style, the win-lose style, the compromise style, and the win-win style (Figure 1).