Interpersonal Conflict Handling Styles: A Collectivist Co-workers’ Perspective on its Causes and Effects

Article Title: Interpersonal Conflict Handling Styles: A Collectivist Co-workers’ Perspective on its Causes and Effects

Author(s): Muhammad Zahid Iqbal and Afsheen Fatima

Institute(s): COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Park Road, Chak Shahzad, Islamabad; University Institute of Management Sciences (UIMS), PMAS Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi.

Journal: Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research, 2013, Vol. 28, No. 1, 125-153

Correspondence Address: Afsheen Fatima, University Institute of Management Sciences, PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Shamsabad, Muree Road, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. E-mail:


The present study examined causes and effects of interpersonal conflict handling styles (ICHS) in perspective of co-workers representing the collectivist cultural dimension. For testing the proposed model, collected data of 402 employees of service sector organizations were surveyed. Jehn’s (1995) scales for measuring task and relationship conflicts (causes were used). Constructs of trust, continuance, and normative commitments (effects) were measured by using Ayoko and Pekerti’s (2008) and Meyer and Allen’s (1997) scales, respectively. Interpersonal Conflict Handling Styles (ICHS) including integrating, obliging, dominating, avoiding, and compromising were measured by using paragraphs revealing scenarios (Zigarovich, 2007). Structural equation modeling technique was used for data analysis. The results revealed that task and relationship conflicts were correspondingly elevating integrating and avoiding behaviors at the most. Among ICHS, avoiding, dominating, and integrating styles were found to be the most influential ones for increasing levels of normative commitment, continuance commitment, and trust, respectively. For managers, the findings of the present study can be helpful in imparting training to the employees so that conflicts between co-workers could be converted into positive outcomes; and also for devising and implementing policies to develop employees’ organizational commitment and trust, and interpersonal conflict handling skills. Regarding theoretical contribution, the study attempted to provide evidence of using social identity theory as a catalyst to analyze how well individuals choose from ICHS for attaining favorable organizational outcomes. Limitations and suggestions for future studies have been discussed.

Keywords: conflict types, interpersonal conflict handling styles, normative commitment, continuance commitment, trust, Pakistan

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