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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1999

Jessica Katz Jameson

This paper presents the theoretical rationale for further development of a model for the assessment and management of intraorganizational conflict. The purpose of such a…

Abstract

This paper presents the theoretical rationale for further development of a model for the assessment and management of intraorganizational conflict. The purpose of such a model would be to assist employees, managers, human resources practitioners, and external service providers in selecting the most appropriate conflict management strategy for a given conflict. The framework presented builds on the previous work of Sheppard (1984) and Elangovan (1995, 1998) in suggesting that a contingency‐based model of strategy selection must include attention to characteristics of the conflict, desired outcomes of the participants, and awareness of available conflict management strategies. By expanding the range of conflicts and conflict management strategies typically included within a single model, the framework presented here forms the basis of a comprehensive model for dealing with intraorganizational conflict.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 20 December 2019

M. Afzalur Rahim and Jeffrey P. Katz

Previous studies examining the relationship between gender and conflict-management strategies have generally reported weak or inconsistent results. This paper aims to…

Abstract

Purpose

Previous studies examining the relationship between gender and conflict-management strategies have generally reported weak or inconsistent results. This paper aims to study extends past research by examining the main and interactive effects of gender on conflict-management strategies over time. The authors propose that conflict-management strategies commonly employed in the workplace are impacted by worker gender as predicted by face negotiation theory and vary over time based on the “generation” of the worker.

Design/methodology/approach

To test the study hypotheses, a field study was conducted to assess main and interactive effects of gender and generation on the five strategies for conflict management: Integrating, obliging, dominating, avoiding and compromising. Questionnaire data were collected over four decades (1980s-2010s) from employed students (N = 6,613). Data analysis was performed using a multivariate analysis of covariance.

Findings

The results suggest female employees consistently use more noncompeting strategies (integrating, obliging, avoiding and compromising) than male employees and male employees consistently use more competing strategy (dominating) than female employees. All the main and interaction effects were significant.

Research limitations/implications

While this study involved primarily students in the USA studying management at two major public universities, there may be implications for a more global population of workers. However, the results support the notion advanced by face negotiation theory that men will generally seek to save face while women will generally avoid conflict in consideration of others.

Practical implications

This study demonstrates that workers employ different conflict-management strategies over time and the use of certain strategies varies by gender. An implication of this study is the need to regularly reassess selection, training and evaluation processes for managers. In addition, supervisors should encourage employees to enhance the effective use of cooperative (integrating, obliging and compromising) strategies and focus on specific situations when uncooperative strategies (dominating and avoiding) may be needed.

Originality/value

By using face negotiation theory as the organizing framework to examine changes in conflict-management strategies over time, this study contributes in a substantial way to the understanding of how gender and generation interact to influence the selection and use of conflict-management strategies in the workplace.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 28 September 2012

Hannah‐Hanh D. Nguyen and Jie Yang

The main research purposes of this paper are to: conceptualize Chinese conflict management behaviors as contingent on the hierarchical relations of conflict parties in an…

Abstract

Purpose

The main research purposes of this paper are to: conceptualize Chinese conflict management behaviors as contingent on the hierarchical relations of conflict parties in an organizational context; and investigate individual characteristics as moderators in this contingency framework.

Design/methodology/approach

This emic study consisted of two steps: using nine subject matter experts to develop conflict scenarios and conflict management strategies, and using this instrument to collect data from 704 actual employees across China. Multinomial logistic analysis was used to analyze respondents' choice of strategies.

Findings

The findings supported the hypotheses. Chinese role‐playing a supervisor in a conflict with their subordinate tended to use direct, assertive strategies to resolve the conflict, but the results depended on age, education, gender, region and work experience. As a subordinate in a conflict with their supervisor, Chinese chose indirect, harmony‐preserving strategies, particularly when they were older and more interaction adept. In a conflict with a peer, respondents used a broader spectrum of conflict management strategies, depending on their individual characteristics. No “best practices” were found or universal strategies adopted.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations include the lack of random sampling and a scenario‐based method. The emic evidence for a contingency perspective of conflict resolution framework was provided. The conflict scenarios may be used in organizational training of conflict management.

Originality/value

Conflict scenarios and management strategies developed by local subject matter experts were used to evaluate Chinese workers' choices of conflict management strategies. The findings call for the re‐conceptualization of conflict management strategies as a contingent and culture‐specific construct.

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2002

M. Afzalur Rahim

The management of organizational conflict involves the diagnosis of and intervention in affective and substantive conflicts at the interpersonal, intragroup, and…

Abstract

The management of organizational conflict involves the diagnosis of and intervention in affective and substantive conflicts at the interpersonal, intragroup, and intergroup levels and the styles (strategies) used to handle these conflicts. A diagnosis should indicate whether there is need for an intervention and the type of intervention needed. In general, an intervention is designed (a) to attain and maintain a moderate amount of substantive conflict in nonroutine tasks at various levels, (b) to reduce affective conflict at all levels, and (c) to enable the organizational members to select and use the appropriate styles of handling conflict so that various situations can be effectively dealt with. Organizational learning and effectiveness can be enhanced through an appropriate diagnosis of and process and structural interventions in conflict.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2014

Abdullah Promise Opute

This paper aims to examine the use of Cross-Functional Bridge (CFB) in dyadic relationships towards enhancing organisational performance. Prior research has flagged…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the use of Cross-Functional Bridge (CFB) in dyadic relationships towards enhancing organisational performance. Prior research has flagged conflict in interfunctional relationships. Research on managing such conflict context is, however, limited.

Design/methodology/approach

Analysing 20 in-depth interviews conducted in UK financial services organisations, this study explains how the CFB is used to manage interfunctional relationship conflict and enhance performance.

Findings

This study underlines three core insights about intragroup working relationship: cultural and disciplinary differences and boundary fencing are core features of, and conflict drivers in, the accounting – marketing interface; CFB is a tool for analysing and managing these conflict drivers; and organisations that use this tool achieve improved organisational performance, an outcome that is enhanced and sustained through the team psychological enhancement factor of the conflict management strategy. Also, this study underlines the need to ensure a fit between conflict management strategy and conflict types.

Research limitations/implications

This research has several limitations. It explores only accounting – marketing working relationship in UK financial services organisations. Also, it explores only relationship conflict and cultural and disciplinary diversity and boundary fencing factors. Finally, this study suggests a mediating influence of psychological well-being on the CFB – performance link, a conclusion that is based on a methodologically inadequate tool: causes and effects associations are better assessed quantitatively (Johnson and Onwuegbuzie, 2004).

Practical implications

The paper highlights insights for analysing and resolving conflicts towards harmonious dyadic relationships. Importantly, managers who use the flagged CFB tool would achieve psychological enhancement in team, and extendedly enhanced organisational performance. Managers are reminded of the need to adequately address the emotional substances in relationship conflicts, as failure to do this will lead to conflict escalation, transformation and negative performance.

Originality/value

The paper offers theory testing and theory building knowledge. The CFB insight is a major highlight, one that lays a brick for future development, especially concerning its modus operandi, motivators and how to maximize its performance value.

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Details

Organizational Behavior Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-678-5

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2010

Wenli Yuan

This study aims to examine how American and Chinese employees of multinational organizations deal with conflict between them.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine how American and Chinese employees of multinational organizations deal with conflict between them.

Design/methodology/approach

In‐depth interviews were conducted with 42 employees from 28 multinational organizations operating in China. A constant comparative method was used to analyze the data.

Findings

The paper finds that both American and Chinese employees used various strategies to deal with conflict, such as integrating, insisting on one's own solution, compromising, yielding to authority, avoiding, passive resistance, dissolving the relationship, and a third‐party approach. In general, American participants were more likely to confront a conflict than Chinese participants. Findings of this study also indicate that differing motivations lead to the utilization of a common conflict management strategy.

Research limitations/implications

The validity of this study might be compromised due to self‐reported responses. Future researchers need to further clarify definitions of conflict management styles and pay more attention to adaptation during the process of intercultural conflict resolution.

Practical implications

The findings of this study will help practitioners become more cognizant of conflict behaviors in multinational organizations, and thus be able to prepare more effective strategies to manage conflict. Originality/value –This is one of few studies that examine conflict in multinational organizations from an intercultural perspective. This study is also one of few that utilize a qualitative approach to examine intercultural conflict management in a workplace.

Details

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7606

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2004

Frances P. Brew, David and R. Cairns

Ting‐Toomey's (1988) face‐negotiation theory of conflict predicts that choice of conflict style is closely associated with face‐negotiation needs, which vary across…

Abstract

Ting‐Toomey's (1988) face‐negotiation theory of conflict predicts that choice of conflict style is closely associated with face‐negotiation needs, which vary across cultures. This study investigated this prediction in a workplace setting involving status and face‐concern with a sample of 163 Anglo‐Australian and 133 Chinese university students who were working full or part‐time. The association of type of communication (direct or cautious) according to type of face‐threat (self or other) and work status (subordinate, co‐worker or superior) with preferences for three conflict management styles (control, solution‐oriented, non‐confrontational) was examined for the two cultural groups. The results showed that: (1) as predicted by the individualist‐collectivist dimension, Anglo respondents rated assertive conflict styles higher and the non‐confrontational style lower than their Chinese counterparts; (2) overall, both Anglo and Chinese respondents preferred more direct communication strategies when self‐face was threatened compared with other‐face threat; (3) status moderated responses to self and other‐face threat for both Anglos and Chinese; (4) face‐threat was related to assertive and diplomatic conflict styles for Anglos and passive and solution‐oriented styles for Chinese. Support was shown for Ting‐Toomey's theory; however the results indicated that, in applied settings, simple predictions based on only cultural dichotomies might have reduced power due to workplace role perceptions having some influence. The findings were discussed in relation to areas of convergence and the two cultural groups; widening the definition of “face”; and providing a more flexible model of conflict management incorporating both Eastern and Western perspectives.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2000

Alan B. Henkin, Peter J. Cistone and Jay R. Dee

Site‐based management depends on collaboration and teamwork among teachers, administrators, and parents. Collaborative decision making in educational systems is frequently…

Abstract

Site‐based management depends on collaboration and teamwork among teachers, administrators, and parents. Collaborative decision making in educational systems is frequently characterized by conflict and disagreement, given differing perspectives and opinions among participants, and differing interests in the status quo. School principals, charged with facilitator roles in locally managed schools, are challenged to address resulting conflicts in ways that yield functional synergies and constructive outcomes which enable schools to respond to community needs. The purpose of this study is to develop a profile of preferred conflict management behaviors and strategies of a sample of principals in a large, urban school district who work in site‐based managed schools. Results reflect these principals’ preference for solution‐oriented conflict strategies. Findings are discussed in terms of the changing leadership responsibilities of principals in site‐based managed schools.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 38 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Gabriela Gonçalves, Marta Reis, Cátia Sousa, Joana Santos, Alejandro Orgambídez-Ramos and Peter Scott

Negotiating effectively in multicultural contexts or others is not only a very important skill for all organizational elements but also crucial to inter-organizational…

Abstract

Purpose

Negotiating effectively in multicultural contexts or others is not only a very important skill for all organizational elements but also crucial to inter-organizational relations (Adler, 2008). If defined as a process that occurs when one party feels adversely affected by another (De Dreu, 1997). Conflict management styles can be analyzed as a function of personality variables. In this respect, cultural intelligence and self-monitoring appear to be relevant variables, as they are characterized by the demonstration of flexibility and interest in elements that are present in conflict management styles. This study aimed to evaluate the extent to which variables such as cultural intelligence and self-monitoring can positively influence the ability to solve interpersonal conflicts more effectively.

Design/methodology/approach

This study, with a sample of 399 individuals, aimed to test a model that explores how cultural intelligence and self-monitoring are related as predictor variables in the styles of conflict resolution.

Findings

It was observed that cultural intelligence presents itself as a reasonable predictor of conflict management styles, whereas self-monitoring appeared as a dispositional and controversial measure in relation to those styles. Self-monitoring exhibited itself as an important predictor of conflict management, but on the other hand, it had an influence on the choice of the dominating style in conflict situations.

Practical implications

Understanding the predictors of conflict management style and, in particular, realizing the extent to which cultural intelligence promotes a more effective conflict management style can help in the development of selection processes and skill training programs. The development of these multicultural skills will contribute to individual, social and organizational well-being.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature of individual differences and conflict management, demonstrating that some individual differences that predict the styles of conflict management can lead to a certain ambiguity in understanding the behaviour that an individual may adopt in situations of conflict.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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