MANAGING CONFLICT WITH AN
ADVISOR
(A) DO NOTHING

Let’s see what happens when Dani decides to avoid the conflict.

In this example Dani decided to avoid the conflict by ignoring the email that her advisor sent through. Dani submitted the paper with her own name as author.

As a result she has ended up limiting contact with her advisor. This has lead to her feeling:

  • Unsure about how her relationship with her advisor will be in the future
  • Anxious about her next meeting with her advisor
  • Uncertain about what his expectations were around the co-authorship

Dani says she’ll just ‘have to wait and see’ but the conflict seems likely to escalate. What could be some of the consequences when Dani’s advisor finds out that she published the paper without his name on it?

Let’s see what happened when Dani decided to avoid the conflict by giving in and accepting her advisor’s request.

In this instance Dani ended up:

  • Submitting the paper listing herself and her advisor as co-author
  • Feeling annoyed and that the situation was not fair

Choosing to give in or accept her advisor’s suggestion without raising her concerns in the hope that the conflict will go away means that:

  • Dani’s advisor does not know how she is feeling about the co-authorship
  • There is potential for more conflict in the future between Dani and her advisor
  • Dani has unexpressed feelings of frustration that she says she will try not to let show through in future interactions with her advisor

However Dani should think about whether giving in at this stage could do more harm to the relationship with her advisor in the future because she could continue to feel resentful and the situation will be left unresolved. Given that Dani is hoping to produce a number of papers, her advisor could continue to believe they have an established working relationship and ask to be named on future publications.

Doing nothing even though a conflict exists could be a wise or unwise choice depending on the circumstances of the conflict. Let's look at some other options you might consider.

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