Interpersonal conflict at work correlates with stress related outcomes such as psychological strain and exhaustion. Consistent with conflict theory, we argued that this relationship is moderated by the way conflict is managed. Cross-sectional data collected in The Netherlands, from students with part-time jobs (Sample 1, n=104), healthcare workers (Sample 2, n=191), and mid-level administrative personnel (Sample 3,n=161) indeed revealed that conflict was related to psychological strain and exhaustion especially when interpersonal conflict was managed passively (through avoiding and yielding). Active conflict management strategies (forcing and problem solving) did not moderate the relationship between interpersonal conflict and employee strain. Implications for conflict theory, for future research, and for practice are discussed.

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European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Dijkstra, M., de Dreu, C., Evers, A., & van Dierendonck, D. (2009). Passive responses to interpersonal conflict at work amplify employee strain. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 18(4), 405–423. doi:10.1080/13594320802510880