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Personality, motives, and conflict strategies in everyday service encounters

Gerrard Macintosh (College of Business, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA)
Charles Stevens (College of Business, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 25 April 2008

Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to examine the link between personality, motives, and the choice of conflict resolution strategy in a service conflict context.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants' responses to a service conflict scenario were coded into strategy categories and both personality (the Big Five) and motives were measured with established scales. Differences in personality and motives across the strategies were assessed with ANOVA and the relationship between personality and motives was assessed with multiple‐regression.

Findings

While the results did not show a direct relationship between personality and choice of strategy, they did indicate an indirect link through motives. The results also show that consumers used a variety of strategies based on a mix of economic and social motives.

Research limitations/implications

The results show that social motives play an important role in business conflicts. The study also supports a multi‐level perspective of personality, where basic tendencies (the Big Five) impact characteristic adaptations (motives), which are more closely related to behavior.

Practical implications

The results suggest that consumer behavior in dealing with conflict can be complex and that service provider cannot rely on “one best way” strategies for dealing with customers. Managers should also be sensitive to the importance that social motives play in conflict resolution, particularly the importance consumers place on fairness.

Originality/value

The paper illustrates how social motives play an important role in business conflicts.

Keywords

Citation

Macintosh, G. and Stevens, C. (2008), "Personality, motives, and conflict strategies in everyday service encounters", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 112-131. https://doi.org/10.1108/10444060810856067

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited