Managing Conflict in Organizations introduces the origins, forms, benefits, and consequences of organizational conflict to students and practitioners and teaches how best to manage conflict to achieve productive outcomes. Conflict has benefits: it may lead to solutions to problems, creativity, and innovation. In contrast, little or no conflict in organizations may lead to stagnation, poor decisions, and ineffectiveness.

This book is a vigorous analysis of the rational application of conflict theory in organizations for organizational behavior students, as well as practitioners looking to practice constructive conflict management in their work. This fifth edition has been thoroughly updated to reflect the latest research in the field and explains the effect that research has on practice, with an expanded range of practical examples and cases.

It covers emergent topics such as:

• Differentials in conflict management styles across generations.

• Technology and its effect on conflict style changes.

• Cross-cultural studies and Diversity.

This text is a valuable resource for students, instructors, and researchers in human resource management and organizational behavior, and a practical handbook for practitioners that manage (or manage upward) their colleagues.



1 Social Conflict Construct

Contributions from Various Disciplines

Organizational Conflict

2 Nature of Conflict

Defining Conflict

Threshold and Grey-Zone Conflicts

Conflict and Competition

Classifying Conflict

Styles of Handling Interpersonal Conflict

3 Organizational Learning and Effectiveness

Nature of Organizational Learning

Types of Learning

Nature of Organizational Effectiveness

Characteristics of the Old Paradigm

Problem Solving

Conflict Management in the New Paradigm

4 Conflict-Management Design

Nature of Conflict Management

Contingency Approach

Conflict Management Process

5 Intrapersonal Conflict

Types of Intrapersonal Conflict


Role Conflict

Role Ambiguity

A Model of Role Conflict and Ambiguity

Consequences of Role Conflict

Managing Intrapersonal Conflict

6 Interpersonal Conflict

Prisoner's Dilemma

A Model of Conflict

Consequences of Interpersonal Conflict


Managing Interpersonal Conflict

Conflict- Management Styles in a Global Setting

7 Intragroup Conflict

Types of Groups

Effects of Intragroup Conflict

Managing Intragroup Conflict

8 Intergroup Conflict

Dynamics of Intergroup Conflict

Effects of Intergroup Conflict

Managing Intergroup Conflict


9 Ethics and Morality

Ethics and Morality Defined

Behavioral Perspectives for Conflict Management

Ethical Evaluation of Conflict Management

Ethics and Leadership Structure

Four Methods of Discourse

General Appropriateness of the Methods

Practical Methods and Conflict Management Styles

Stages of Moral Development

Empirical Study on Stages and Styles

10 The Measurement of Conflict

Development of the ROCI– I

Development of the ROCI– II

Sample Items of the ROCI– I and ROCI– II

New Measurements Scales that are being Developed

11 Epilogue

A Design for Managing Conflict

Appendix A: Cases

Case 1: Allen Manufacturing Corporation

Case 2: New Employee at the Credit Union

Case 3: Minnis Service

Case 4: The Hormel Strike at Austin, Minnesota

Appendix B: Exercises

Exercise 1: Contract Building

Exercise 2: Technique of Role Analysis

Exercise 3: Job Design

Exercise 4: Transactional Analysis

Exercise 5: Managing Interpersonal Conflict

Exercise 6: Team Building

Exercise 7: Intergroup Problem Solving

Exercise 8: Organizational Mirroring

Exercise 9: Analysis of Task Interdependence


Author Index

Subject Index