Recreation Conflict - Norms
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Vaske, J. and M. Donnelly. 2002. "Generalizing the encounter - norm - crowding relationship." Leisure Sciences 24(3-4): 255-269.

This article examines the theory that predicts that when encounters exceed a visitor's norm for seeing others, crowding will increase. Data from 13 different studies, which included both high- and low-density study sites, 12 different activity types and a total sample size of 10,697, is used in this study. Recreation encounters were measured by asking respondents to indicate the number of people they remembered seeing and crowding was measured using a a 9-point Likert scale. Individual encounter norms were determined by asking respondents to specify the highest number of encounters they would tolerate for a given situation. The study found that crowding was significantly higher for individuals who indicated more encounters than their norm. However, respondents only felt "Slightly" to "Moderately" crowded indicate medium strength relationship. This relationship was found for three different predictor variables: backcountry versus frontcountry; type of activity (e.g. canoers, hikers, hungers, anglers); and whether there conflict or no conflict. These findings highlight the importance of measuring all three concepts - encounters, perceived crowding and norms - to develop an understanding of how the existing conditions compare to the standards for the experience to be offered.

Donnelly, M., J. Vaske, D. Whittaker and B. Shelby. 2000. "Toward an understanding of norm prevalence: A comparative analysis of 20 years of research." Environmental Management 25(4): 403-414.

This paper examines the results of 30 studies on recreation encounter norms and their prevalence. Norms define what behavior should be, rather than what the behavior actually is. Encounter norms refer to people's expectations in terms of the number of encounters with other recreationist they would tolerate before their recreation experience would change. In some cases, when an individual's norms are not met, conflict may occur. Norm prevalence refers to the proportion of people in a population who can articulate a norm in a specific context. This paper empirically examines the prevalence of encounter norms in 56 evaluation contexts. Four predictor variables were examined. (1) type of resource, (2) type of activity, (3) type of encounter, and (4) question response format. Many of the results confirmed existing hypotheses: norm prevalence varied by whether the activity occurred in the backcounty or frountcountry with backcountry users more likely to have a norm; in situations where conflict exists norms are more likely to occur; and studies that used a two-category response option (number and "makes no difference to me") had more norms reported than studies that uses a three-category response format (also included "makes a difference but I can't give a number). The three positive independent variables explained 64% of the variance in norm prevalence. In contrast, the type of activity (consumptive versus non-consumptive) had no influence on norm prevalence, but it may be that specific types of activities or level of specialization are more meaningful categories.

Manning, R. E. 1999. "Indicators and standards of quality: A normative approach." In Studies in Outdoor Recreation: Search and Research for Satisfaction, Second Edition, 122-155. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press.

This chapter reviews indicators and standards of quality with a particular emphasis on personal norms. Personal norms are standards that individuals use to evaluate recreation conditions. The level of acceptable interaction with other recreationists in an example of recreation-orientated norm. Personal norms can be aggregated to develop social norms and help set management indicators or standards of quality. While there are many issues associated with norms research and their application to recreation management, research as generally supported the notion that norms can use to set valid management standards. Norms are reported more often, are more highly crystallized and tend to less tolerant in wilderness and backcountry areas than in frontcountry or more highly used areas. Normative standards of quality of visitors may vary from those of managers. There is often a hierarchy of importance among indicators of quality.

Hall, T. and B. Shelby. 1996. "Who cares about encounters? Differences between those with and without norms." Leisure Sciences 18(1): 7-22.

The normative approach can be used to set management objectives for acceptable standards for recreation. The goal is to provide visitors with the desired experience and, as a result, minimize potential conflicts. In theory norms can be used to set the management standards when there is substantial agreement among recreationists. Some research, however, has found that this may not be possible. This study uses a sample of hikers and stock users from the Eagle Cap Wilderness in Oregon to investigate the relationships between variables including mode of travel, destination (high or low-use), past wilderness experience, attitudes toward impacts, attitudes toward management practices, and the presence of individual norms for encounters. Approximately 44% of respondents reported a norm for encounters with others, 29% said encounters matter but could not give a number, and 28% said that encounters do not matter to them. Residence, trailhead use level, and past wilderness experience were related to the presence of norms. Those with norms were move likely to rate social and ecological impacts as problems and were more supportive of restrictive management practices.

Lewis, M., D. Lime and D. Anderson. 1996. "Paddle canoeists' encounter norms in Minnesota's boundary waters canoe area wilderness." Leisure Sciences 18(2): 143-160.

Debate exists about whether encounter norms are measurable and whether the measured encounter norms accurately represent visitors' preferences about acceptable use levels. This study collects "trip diaries" from paddle canoeists in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to collect data on their actual encounters and preferences for acceptable use levels that would not spoil their sense of being in the wilderness. Findings suggest personal and social encounter norms can be defined by most paddle canoeists that accurately express desired encounters with other parties. However, variability among social encounter norms was discovered. Despite this, the authors suggest that managers should consider encounter norms as a key source of information for future management decisions. Encounter norms offer an important method for setting management standards that are likely to mitigate visitor conflict and ensure maximum visitor satisfaction. However, given the lack of norm consensus in this study, future normative research should focus on developing a better understanding of normative consensus issues. Although much research has examined normative consensus, few findings specify what constitutes sufficient agreement among encounter norms.

Manning, R., D. Johnson and M. VandeKamp. 1996. "Norm congruence among tour boat passengers to Glacier Bay National Park." Leisure Sciences 18(2): 125-141.

Using visitor norms, both personal and social, are increasingly being used to set standards of management goals and standards of quality in recreation. Setting appropriate management goals is key strategy for managing conflict in recreation. An important research question, however, is whether visitors' evaluations and behavior are congruent with norm-based standards. This study tests norm congruence among tour boar passengers to Glacier Bay National Park. A sample of tour boat passengers was surveyed to determine (a) personal norms for the number of watercraft and aircraft seen, (b) number of watercraft and aircraft seen, and (c) the effect of watercraft and aircraft seen on enjoyment. The results of this study are somewhat mixed. When viewing a the sample as a whole, the findings indicate a relatively high level of norm congruence. However, a subpopulation of respondents that constitutes a stricter test of norm congruence suggests a substantially higher level of norm incongruence. The paper explores a number of reasons that might help explain these results including: the need for some latitude around a personal norm; the small number of watercraft/aircraft dealt with in this study; the study actually found little "extreme" incongruence which may be a better measure; that a visitor evaluation of an encounter may depend on the behavior of the watercraft/aircraft; the global measure of enjoyment was used to measure norm congruence which may be inappropriate; normative standards may be more fully developed by recreation specialists; and the possibility that the norms being measured in this study were not important to visitors (norm salience) which may lead to challenges in visitors establishing a norm.

Shelby, B., J. Vaske and M. Donnelly. 1996. "Norms, standards, and natural resources." Leisure Sciences 18(2): 103-123.

The article reviews the "normative approach" to recreation management and recreation management conflict or managing recreation areas based on individuals' personal norms. The article reviews norms that have been measured for peoples' acceptance of different characteristics such as number of people encountered, people engaged in different activities, amount of litter, noise levels, services provided, instream flow, or ecological impacts. Norms can vary considerably depending on a number of factors including activity types, activity setting or motivation for engaging in the activity. Norms are increasingly being used in resource management to help set management direction, to define the salient characteristics of high quality settings, to define standards that can be used as management targets, to differentiate minimal conditions from optimal conditions, to identify important impacts about which people feel more strongly, and to indicate the degree of consensus among various interest groups. The article also reviews some of the important considerations in norms research. Finally, the authors conclude that the normative approach is an interesting study of the symbiosis between science and management and, in particular, with science providing valuable information to managers making decisions on how things "should be" in recreation areas.

Ruddell, E. J. and J. H. Gramann. 1994. "Goal orientation, norms, and noise-induced conflict among recreation areas users." Leisure Sciences 16(2): 93-104.

This study evaluates the goal interference theory of recreation conflict using data from a survey of 338 winter visitors to Padre Island National Seashore, Texas. The goal interference model defines interpersonal conflict as behavior of others that interferes with personal recreational goals. The model also proposes that variations in personal standards of appropriate behavior for a setting were a major source of such interference. The theory, however, did not address that possibility that some goals may be more vulnerable to interference from physically obtrusive behavior than others. This study finds that visitors motivated by goals such as being with people considerate and respectful of others were more likely to perceive interference from loud radios than were visitors motivated by the goal to be with friends or other people like themselves. The authors conclude that the more the success of goal achievement rests on factors beyond the direct control of the actor, the greater the likelihood of conflict. Visitors whose individual norms for radio volumes were equal to or less tolerant than the social norm were more likely to experience interference from radios whose loudness exceeded the social norm, supporting the role of normative violations in recreation conflict.

Heywood, J. L. 1993. "Game-theory: A basis for analyzing emerging norms and conventions in outdoor recreation." Leisure Sciences 15(1): 37-48.

This articles examines games of conflict, cooperation, and coordination for their relevance to understanding outdoor recreation behavior. Typically, in conflict games players receive zero-sum payoffs, while cooperation games have non-zero sum payoffs. Cooperation games are problematic because they have only one equilibrium solution that players often fail to recognize. Coordination games, in contrast, present multiple equilibrium solutions. In this article the "Prisoner's Dilemma" cooperation games is presented as a basis for understanding how norms can emerge from negotiated solutions to recreation activity. For example, non-motorized users and motorized users may agree on how to zone a park for equal benefit. However, when one member of these groups violates the zoning agreement, all members of the group may be punished for their actions. While the concepts of cooperative problem-solving provide some insights into some aspects of recreation behavior and conflict, they are applicable only to a narrow range of recreation management problems involving aspects of activity appropriateness or providing opportunities for engaging in an activity. Coordination games illustrate a wider range of recreation management problems where multiple equilibrium exist. As long as an equilibrium is found then conflict between user groups is avoided. Examples include who yields to who on right of ways (as long as one group yields to the other) or trash disposal in backcountry-wilderness areas (as a long as a strategy is agreed upon - carry-out or burning and buried). Coordination games can be solved through oral communication or, more likely, through the establishment of a system of suitably concordant mutual expectations. The way that people understand and solve coordination games forms a basis for understanding how behavior conventions emerge, are maintained and lead to individual norms.

Shelby, B. and J. J. Vaske. 1991. "Using normative data to develop evaluative standards for resource-management - A comment on 3 recent papers." Journal of Leisure Research 23(2): 173-187.

Social norms are increasingly being used to set recreation management goals and objectives, and is one tool for management recreation conflict. Social norms are measured empirically by aggregating norms measured at the personal level. This paper reviews three studies that examine issues related to the measurement and definition of management norms and comments on the issues they raise. Two of the studies find that norms are not a useful criterion for managing overall satisfaction of the visitor experience, but that norms are likely quite useful for setting management standards. The third study highlights a number of issues with norms including the fact that they are likely to exist more in low-encounter activities and the challenge of identifying a consensus or acceptable level of norm agreement for them to be used as management standards. Using norms as evaluative management standards is a relatively new approach, and this paper's author highlights the importance of not confusing the process of resolving theoretical and methodological issues with the application of the technique to management.

Patterson, M. E. and W. E. Hammitt. 1990. "Backcountry encounter norms, actual reported encounters, and their relationship to wilderness solitude." Journal of Leisure Research 22(3): 259-275.

This paper investigates backcountry backpackers' norms concerning maximum acceptable tolerance limits for visual-social contacts at three encounter sites - trailhead, trail and campsite. Similar to other studies on recreation norms, this study found that while 83% of the respondents reported encountering more parties than their acceptable norms, only 34% of the respondents reported that the number of encounters detracted from their solitude experience. This common study finding is important for managers considering how norm-based management might relate to management of conflict in recreation. This study postulates four reasons for why they may have found this result in this study: many backcountry users do not have a clear or salient conception of what a tolerable number of encounters is; visual-social encounters are of only a minor importance in their whole experience; limitations in the measurement techniques in the study; and the number of encounters is important to respondents, but conformity of behavior to normative beliefs is not a certainty.

Whittaker, D. and B. Shelby. 1988. "Types of norms for recreation Impacts - Extending the social norms concept." Journal of Leisure Research 20(4): 261-273.

Social norm theory suggests there may be group agreement about appropriate conditions for outdoor recreation areas. If managers can identify appropriate social norms, management standards can be set that assist in satisfying user expectations and limiting potential conflict. This study investigates various social norms for boating standards for a variety of social and ecological impacts on the Deschutes River in Oregon. Survey respondents were asked to rate a total of eleven impacts and the 460 respondents represented such user groups as trout fishing, whitewater floating, riverside camping, whitewater floating, car camping, steelhead fishing and jet boating. Results of the survey indicated that there were three different social norms types - "no tolerance", "single tolerance", and "multiple tolerances." For example, approximately 80% of people reported that it was never appropriate to see signs of human waste. In terms of on-river encounters, this measure represents a "single tolerance" norm with people willing to tolerate a certain level of impact, but few people willing to tolerate uses beyond a certain level. Finally, peoples' norms for fire rings demonstrated bi-modal distribution with many users not wanting to see any evidence of fire rings, but with another sizable percent of users willing to see fire rings at every campsite.

Vaske, J. J., A. R. Graefe, B. Shelby and T. A. Heberlein. 1986. "Backcountry encounter norms - theory, method and empirical-evidence." Journal of Leisure Research 18(3): 137-153.

This article provides a conceptual framework for analyzing the structural characteristics of norms. In particular the relationship between social norms, which are standards shared by the members of a social group, and personal norms, standards held by the individual, does not show perfect symmetry. While personal norms are usually close to the social norms, they are often quite close to the social norm, but in some cases may be quite different. The return potential model is a graphed relationship between a behavioral dimension, such as number of encounters with other people during a recreation activity, and an evaluation dimension, using some measure of acceptability, pleasantness or favorability. In the outdoor recreation, the model for encounters is depicted as a downward sloping curve from zero encounters being most acceptable to many encounters being least acceptable. The model is, in essence, an illustration of the social norm. Two structural properties of the model, norm intensity and norm crystallization, can be measured empirically. Norm intensity is the height of the return potential curve both above and below the point of indifference. Norm crystallization is the amount of agreement about the norm, or a measure of standard deviation at each point along the curve.

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