PurposeThis paper aims to explore the psychological antecedents and processes that lead to competitive or cooperative attitudes in conflict management using the lens of construal level theory (CLT). CLT suggests that adopting a distal versus proximal psychological perspective changes the way people think and behave. This research explores the systematic effect of these abstract versus concrete mental construals on preferred conflict management styles.Design/methodology/approachFirst, theoretically grounded hypotheses linking different mental construals to cooperative and competitive conflict management styles were formulated. Subsequently, four empirical studies were conducted to test the hypotheses.FindingsThe studies provide support to the hypotheses showing that high construal abstract thinking is linked to preference for cooperation while low construal thinking is linked to preference for competition. Further, two different psychological processes mediate participants’ preferences for cooperative and competitive conflict management styles, the former mediated by perspective taking and empathic concern and the latter by impulsivity and aggression.Research limitations/implicationsThe research measures conflict management styles rather than actual behavior. Also, focus is on trait mental construals rather than priming of high or low construal thinking.Practical implicationsDeeper understanding of the psychology of cooperative and competitive conflict management styles can help parties attain better outcomes and can potentially contribute to training and talent development by educating conflict management practitioners.Social implicationsThe findings of this research can potentially inform effective interventions aimed at reducing intergroup conflicts.Originality/valueMental construals and related psychological processes are linked to conflict management styles for the first time.
International Journal of Conflict Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 8, 2019
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera