Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Common Literature on Affective – Substantive Conflicts and Interpersonal Conflict Management Styles in the Turkish Organizational Context

The organizational literature on affective and substantive conflicts is characteristically dominated by studies, which aim to explore, explain and describe them as they relate to the overall organizational concerns such as effectiveness, efficiency, productivity, performance, satisfaction, loyalty, commitment, and alike.

Interestingly, there have been only few researches conducted on investigating the links between how different types of conflicts paved the way for the use of specific conflict management styles. For example, in her attempt to investigate whether individuals differentiated between their conflict management styles with respect to the affective and substantive sources of conflicts reports that substantive disagreements are most likely to be managed through problem-solving, and that affective conflicts are dealt through compromising and obliging behavior.

In a subsequent study on individual satisfaction, perceptions of inequity and quality of group outcome report that affective and substantive conflicts are handled very differently. Accordingly, substantive conflicts are significantly managed through integrative conflict management styles whereas affective conflicts are significantly managed through avoidance styles. Additionally, neither types of conflicts are associated with distributive conflict management styles. Affective conflict is negatively correlated with problem solving, and positively correlated with dominating and avoiding behaviors.

Research on decision-making effectiveness in management teams reports significant positive correlations between distributive behavior and both affective and substantive conflicts, and also a negative correlation between affective conflict and integrative behavior.

To sum up, a positive correlation between substantive conflict and distributive styles, all researches converge upon the finding that substantive conflicts are handled through integrative conflict management behavior, more specifically through problem solving. On the contrary, although research evidence shows that affective conflicts are negatively correlated to integrative styles, they do not converge upon the use of a single dominant style. The relevant findings are dispersed among reports of affective conflicts managed through obliging, avoiding, dominating and compromising styles.

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