The Influence of Organisational Conflict Management on Interpersonal Relations and Performance

Flowers, Melanie (2021) The Influence of Organisational Conflict Management on Interpersonal Relations and Performance. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/AA26J14Z

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Studies of organisational conflicts have predominantly conceptualised conflict and conflict management as static and one-dimensional, and attributed benefits for decision-making, creativity and/or learning to certain conflict types (e.g., Jehn, 1995, 1997; Rahim, 2002; Simons & Peterson, 2000). This research, by contrast, ascertains that counterproductive conflict behaviour has adverse consequences for involved individuals and organisations and explores what challenges organisations face in manifest conflict scenarios (in line with, e.g., De Dreu & Beersma, 2005; De Dreu & Weingart, 2003; Dijkstra et al., 2011; Giebels & Janssen, 2005; Knippen & Green, 1999; Lewis et al., 2006; Spector & Jex, 1998). This research further shows how conflicts are dealt with in organisations and investigates how the selection of respective conflict management methods influences the outcome of the conflict at affected organisational levels. Rather than relying on single static properties of conflict to explain the outcome of conflict, this research demonstrates how the interplay of conflict management approaches and multiple conflict properties determines the conflict outcome (considering research from, e.g., Cronin & Bezrukova, 2019; Galtung, 1996; Glasl, 2013; Humphrey et al., 2017; Korsgaard et al., 2008; Rahim, 2011; Rubin et al., 1994; Shah et al., 2020; Thomas, 1992a; Van de Vliert, 1997; Wall Jr. & Callister, 1995). Thereby, this research provides insight into conflict-related challenges, and adds a dynamic, processual understanding to existing conceptualisations of conflict and conflict management. In comparison to most organisational conflict studies, this research follows a qualitative research approach: Using the critical incident technique and caricatures during semi-structured interviews assists to gather an in-depth understanding of organisational conflicts and their management through the perception of interviewees. Twelve interviewees from different German private sector organisations participated in this study, relating conflict experiences of diverse escalation levels, utilised conflict management approaches and conflict outcomes. The findings reveal that beside conflict, conflict management consists of several phases, with conflict parties tending towards cooperative or individual-centred behaviours and involves third parties to different extents. Whereas a cooperative conflict management in the last stage of conflict management facilitates improved interpersonal relations and performance, individual-centred conflict management fosters and sustains strained interpersonal relations and affected performance post-conflict. With the dynamics exemplified in a model framework for handling conflicts, the findings suggest tackling incompatible conflict issues as they arise and seeking a cooperative solution to conflicts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Organisational conflict; Conflict management; Interpersonal relations; Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5549 Personnel management. Employment management
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Kamila Niekoraniec
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2023 13:46
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2024 13:53

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