A Helping Hand? The Moderating Role of Leaders' Conflict Management Behavior on the Conflict–Stress Relationship of Employees

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Abstract:

Interpersonal conflict between colleagues within organizations negatively affects employee well‐being (e.g., stress). It is unclear how leaders' third‐party conflict management behaviors influence the relationship between employee conflict and well‐being. In this study, we examine the effects of leaders' perceived conflict management behaviors on the relationship between relationship, task, and process conflicts and the conflict‐related stress (as a measure of well‐being) that employees experience. We tested our expectations using a survey of 145 employees of an insurance company in the Netherlands. The results confirmed our expectations that the perception that leaders engaged in third‐party forcing behavior and avoiding behavior amplified the effects of conflict on conflict‐related stress. Furthermore, we found that leaders' third‐party problem‐solving behavior had a buffering effect on the association between relationship conflict and conflict‐related stress. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1571-9979.2012.00340.x

Affiliations: 1: University of Leuven in Leuven, Belgium, and Schouten and Nelissen 2: Technical University Eindhoven in Eindhoven, the Netherlands 3: University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands 4: University of Leuven

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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