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Handling conflict at work: The role of fit between subordinates’ need for closure and supervisors’ power tactics

Jocelyn J Bélanger (Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA)
Antonio Pierro (Psychology Department, University of Rome, Rome, Italy)
Barbara Barbieri (Psychology Department, University of Rome, Rome, Italy)
Nicola A De Carlo (Psychology Department, University of Padua, Padova, Italy)
Alessandra Falco (Psychology Department, University of Padua, Padova, Italy)
Arie W Kruglanski (Psychology Department, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 9 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to explore the notion of fit between subordinates’ need for cognitive closure and supervisors’ power tactics on organizational conflict management.

Design/methodology/approach

Two-hundred and ninety employees drawn from six different Italian organizations were recruited for the purpose of this study.

Findings

Results indicated that high-need-for-closure subordinates utilized more constructive (solution-oriented) conflict management strategies when their supervisors relied on harsh power tactics, whereas low-need-for-closure subordinates were more inclined to use solution-oriented conflict management strategies when their supervisors relied on soft power tactics. Additionally, results indicated that, overall, supervisors’ use of harsh power tactics increased subordinates reliance on maladapted (control-oriented) conflict management strategies, but even more so for subordinates with low need for cognitive closure.

Originality/value

This study highlights the importance of supervisor–subordinate fit to understand conflict management in organizational setting.

Keywords

Citation

Bélanger, J.J., Pierro, A., Barbieri, B., De Carlo, N.A., Falco, A. and Kruglanski, A.W. (2015), "Handling conflict at work: The role of fit between subordinates’ need for closure and supervisors’ power tactics", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 25-43. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCMA-09-2013-0083

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited