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Effect of mental construals on cooperative and competitive conflict management styles

Effect of mental construals on cooperative and competitive conflict management styles 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Conflict Management Emerald Publishing

Effect of mental construals on cooperative and competitive conflict management styles

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1044-4068
DOI
10.1108/IJCMA-11-2017-0136
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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.

Journal

International Journal of Conflict ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Apr 8, 2019

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