Potential for Conflict Index (PCI 2)


The Potential for Conflict Index (PCI2) allows bipolar data findings to be interpreted and applied to managerial concerns. These types of data sets are most common in social sciences where researchers strive to understand attitudes, values, and behavioral tolerance levels of people. The bipolar scales have two to nine levels and may include a neutral, middle value. For example, the response set could range from "extremely disagree" to "extrememly agree." The data findings are displayed using a bubble graph that allows for easy understanding of applicability to managerial concerns.

What Is It?

The Potential for Conflict Index (PCI2) ranges from minimal (0) to maximum (1) potential for conflict and simultaneously describes a variable's central tendency, dispersion and shape using a graphic display. The tool displays concepts of consensus and disagreement among people based on values, attitudes, and how people respond based ontheir perception of everyone else's attitudes and values around them.

Graphing templates, examples, instructions, and a copy of the program can all be found here.

Policy Issues

Many statistical representations fail to provide understanding for the meaning of the findings. PCI2 presents the findings in a way that is easy to visualize and understand the implications  for managerial concerns.


  • The PCI2 tool provides meaningful representation of statistical findings for bipolar data sets.

  • The logic and statistical process are sound.

  • Easy for managers to interpret results and apply findings.

  • Available to use in four software structures: SPSS, SAS, Microsoft Excel, and standalone PCI2SA.

  • Power functions can be used to amplify non-linear perceptions.

  • Most versions of PCI2 do not have sample size restrictions.


  • Currently not compatible with weighted data.

  • Data must be coded -x to +x to correctly calculate the scale mean when graphing the variables (example: -3 to +3).

  •  The PCI is not designed to work with truly continuous variables.

  • If using a version of Excel earlier than 2007, sample sizes are limited to 65,000.

Expertise Needed

Familiarity with running statistical regressions and is recommended. If you are familiar with and have access to SPSS or SAS software, versions of PCI2 are available for use with those software platforms. As well, users without access to SPSS or SAS can use versions of PCI that either run in Microsoft Excell or in the standalone PCI2SA software platform.

Types of Data Needed

  • Bipolar, non-continuous variables
  • Unipolar, non-continuous variables recoded into bipolar form
  • Unweighted data

How Do I Get It?

The four versions of PCI2 are available here. Click  on the top tab titled "Calculating PCI2" and select which software platform is needed.

Complete information regarding the logic and structure of the PCI2 as well as examples of its application are available throughout this website.

Related Methods

Comparative research looks at two or more similar groups, individuals, or conditions by comparing them. This comparison often focuses on a few specific characteristics. This method can also be used to compare the same group, condition, or individual over time (also called longitudinal comparison). Comparisons may be qualitative or quantitative.
Demography is the study of the characteristics of human populations, such as size, growth, density, and distribution. Demographic analysis provides insights into the links between these characteristics and the cultural, economic, geographic, and other social attributes present in a given area.
A needs assessment is a systematic investigation of audiences and issues.
Social assessment is a method of data collection and analysis used to characterize the social environment in the area in which one manages (e.g., watershed, protected area). Social impact assessment is used to predict impacts related to implementation of management resources or policy changes.
Stakeholder analysis is a tool used to identify and understand those that have an interest or stake in an issue.
A standardized list of questions that may be administered formally or informally by mail, telephone, Internet, or in person to collect specific information from multiple individuals.

Contact Information

The Potential for Conflict Index is created by Professor Jerry J. Vaske, a professor at the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University.


For an in-depth overview of the PCI2, please see An Extension and Further Validation of the Potential for Conflict Index publication available through Taylor & Francis Online.