Date of Conferral







Jay Greiner


The focus of this study was the organizational working environment and existing partisanship evident in the United States Congress. There has been a reduction in the number of laws passed over the last 30 years from a high of over 1,000 to a low of around 120, with a period of complete government shutdown in 2013. This qualitative research utilized qualitative content analysis to discover the nature of partisan conflict as demonstrated by 6 members of Congress. The conceptual framework for this study was moral foundations theory. Different moral principles held by Democrats and Republicans were studied as a possible explanation for the inability of one end of the political spectrum to identify with, work with, and comprehend the belief systems of the other. Archival video data for each participant was viewed on C-Span and related transcripts were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Emerging themes were then inductively coded in order to understand the nature of the partisan conflict in Congress. Results demonstrate that Republicans and Democrats rely on different sets of moral foundations and that there is limited crossover between those who occupy the extreme ends of the ideological continuum. This lack of crossover essentially leads members with differing ideology and moral foundations to not comprehend the moral message of their opponents. With this knowledge, political strategists can help to develop communication and political approaches that take into consideration the moral foundations of ideological opponents. Social change implications include improved understanding of the ideological stance of members of the opposing party and improved working relationships in Congress, resulting in an organizational working environment that is less conflicted.