Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the interactive effect of interpersonal conflict at work and adopting an integrating/compromising conflict style on workers' psychosocial wellbeing. Design/methodology/approach – A total of 311 employed young adults completed an online questionnaire. Findings – Moderated hierarchical multiple regression analyses support the hypothesis that integrating/compromising interacts with interpersonal conflict at work to predict psychosocial strain. Specifically, it was found that integrating/compromising is related to psychosocial strain in a U‐shaped fashion when work conflict is high. Although a moderate degree of integrating/compromising is psychosocially beneficial for workers and can buffer the negative impact of work conflict, beyond a certain point, integrating/compromising is associated with an increase in psychosocial strain when work conflict is high. Research limitations/implications – The results of the study suggest that investigations of conflict styles should focus not only on managing the occurrence of conflict – or resolving it when it does occur – but also on the psychosocial costs of adopting particular conflict styles. The data are cross‐sectional; therefore, inferences about causality are limited. Originality/value – The study is one of the few to empirically test the psychosocial costs of adopting particular conflict styles. In addition, compared with similar studies, more complex relationships (i.e. nonlinear) between the variables are assessed.
International Journal of Conflict Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 5, 2010
Keywords: Conflict management; Stress
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