Conflict in context: Perceptions of conflict, employee outcomes and the moderating role of discretion and social capital

Ariel Avgar, Eun Kyung Lee, Wonjoon Chung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose-The purpose of this paper is to examine the moderating effect of discretion and social capital on the relationship between individual perceptions of team conflict and employee-level outcomes. The authors propose that both employee discretion and unit-level social capital influence the negative effects of perceived conflict on employee stress and turnover intentions. They argue that an individual’s perceptions of these central organizational characteristics are likely to alter the consequences associated with conflict and the manner in which individuals respond to it. Design/methodology/approach-This study empirically tests the moderating effects of discretion and unit-level social capital on the relationship between individual’s perception of team conflict and employee-level outcomes. Analysis was conducted with survey data from a sample of health care care providers in 90 units across 20 nursing home organizations. We applied hierarchical linear modeling analyses to test our hypotheses. Findings-Results demonstrate that employee discretion moderates the relationship between perceived task conflict and job stress. Unit-level social capital was shown to moderate the relationship between perceived relationship conflict and employee turnover intentions. Our findings also document a varied moderation effect at low to moderate levels of conflict versus high levels of conflict. This finding suggests that the moderating role of contextual variables is more nuanced and complex than the existing conceptual frameworks acknowledge. Research limitations/implications-This study contributes to the research on conflict and conflict management by extending a multilevel approach to the effect of conflict and by providing new insights regarding the contextual manner in which conflict affects workplace outcomes. Practical implications-The effects of discretion and unit-level social capital on how conflict is metabolized by organizations and their members varied. Contextual factors matter differently for different individual level outcomes. In attempting to manage the consequences associated with workplace conflict, organizations and their managers must consider different contextual factors. Originality/value-This study contributes to the research on conflict and its management in organization by providing new insights regarding the contextual manner in which conflict affects organizational and individual outcomes. This study provides support for the claim that the relational and task-related context under which employees experience conflict affects employee stress levels and the extent to which they report their intentions to leave the organization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-303
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Discretion
  • Social capital
  • Stress
  • Task conflict
  • Turnover intentions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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