Groups’ perceptions of their supervisors’ conflict management styles (CMSs) can have important implications for well-being. Rather than being examined in isolation, supervisor CMSs need to be considered in the context of supervisors’ emotional ability and the amount of conflict in workgroups. This paper aims to investigate the three-way interactions between group-level perceptions of supervisor CMSs (collaborating, yielding, forcing), supervisor emotion recognition skills and group relationship conflict in predicting collective employee burnout.Design/methodology/approachGroup-level hierarchical multiple regressions were conducted with 972 teaching professionals nested in 109 groups.FindingsThe positive association between supervisor yielding climate and collective employee burnout was evident when supervisor emotion recognition was low but absent when supervisor emotion recognition was high. Groups with high supervisor forcing climate and high supervisor emotion recognition experienced lower group burnout, an effect evident at high but not low relationship conflict.Practical implicationsSupervisors have a critical – and challenging – role to play in managing conflict among group members. The detrimental effects of supervisor yielding and forcing climates on collective employee burnout are moderated by personal (supervisor emotion recognition) and situational (the level of relationship conflict) variables. These findings have practical implications for how supervisors could be trained to handle conflict.Originality/valueThis research challenges traditional notions that supervisor yielding and forcing CMSs are universally detrimental to well-being.
International Journal of Conflict Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 18, 2020
Keywords: Conflict management style; Emotion recognition; Burnout; Climate; Supervisors
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