To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Interpersonal conflict and resolution strategies: An examination of Hong Kong employees

Alicia S.M. Leung (Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong)

Team Performance Management

ISSN: 1352-7592

Article publication date: 13 June 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the effect of interpersonal conflict on team performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes the form of a qualitative study in which a total of 40 executives were interviewed who represented employees working in various Chinese organizations.

Findings

The paper finds causes of conflicts including a demanding boss, inconsistency between word and deed, and in‐group favouritism. The conflict‐resolving strategies were categorized as avoidance and cooperative. No competitive or confrontational strategies were adopted. Avoidance strategies involved deference to authority, giving face and maintaining harmony, whereas cooperative strategies involved building trust.

Practical implications

Avoidance strategies discourage open communication and clarification, which further suppresses hidden conflicts. This leads to forbearance and the suppression of personal goals in pursuit of a superficial harmonious yet conflicting relationship. In contrast, cooperative strategies have much to offer. However, adopting a cooperative strategy can have both a positive and a negative effect on a team's performance. On the positive side, trust is an essential component in cooperation that promotes synergistic relationships. On the negative side, it induces low conflict efficacy among employees, because they feel obliged to identify with the boss's goals and values, and be faithful.

Originality/value

On an individual level, failing to comply with differences and relational contracts can be perceived as a personal deficiency, and these attributions can adversely affect employees' short‐term career prospects and long‐term career development. On an organization level, interpersonal conflict can result in higher rates of turnover and absenteeism, and time can be lost owing to angry emotional reactions that in turn translate into financial losses.

Keywords

Citation

Leung, A.S.M. (2008), "Interpersonal conflict and resolution strategies: An examination of Hong Kong employees", Team Performance Management, Vol. 14 No. 3/4, pp. 165-178. https://doi.org/10.1108/13527590810883433

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited