The purpose of this research study was to enhance understanding of successful conflict management by community college Presidents through highlighting and describing conflict experiences with the faculty union or the board of trustees in a community college context. The following questions guided the research: (a) How do community college Presidents describe the experience of conflict management in the community college context? (b) How does conflict management competence manifest itself in conflict situations? and (c) How do community college Presidents develop the competencies to manage conflict? The research design included an interpretive social science philosophical approach and phenomenological method.
Seven community college Presidents representing a variety of geographical areas participated in two different semi–structured interviews. Three pervasive themes describing the experience of successful conflict management emerged from the data in response to research question one. These themes were (a) diversity, (b) inevitability, and (c) perplexing. In response to research question number two, three pervasive themes emerged from the data which were (a) avoid personalizing the conflict, (b) stay focused on college mission and students, and (c) inform and engage the board of trustees. Enhance content knowledge was the one pervasive theme that emerged for research question number three. Findings from this study highlight key themes to assist current and aspiring Presidents that seek to gain understanding of successful conflict management in the community college context.