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Research Article

The Relationship Between the Occurrence of Conflicts in the Work Unit, the Conflict Management Styles in the Work Unit and Workplace Bullying

Authors:

Elfi Baillien ,

Department of Psychology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, BE
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Hans De Witte

Department of Psychology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, BE
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Abstract

The current study examines the relationship between the occurrence of conflicts in the work unit and conflict management styles in the work unit, and workplace bullying. First, we assume a positive relationship between the occurrence of conflicts and bullying; and that the conflict management styles 'fighting', 'avoiding' and 'yielding' associate positively and 'problem solving' associates negatively with bullying. Second, we expect that the work unit's conflict management styles moderate the relationship between the occurrence of conflicts and bullying. Results (N = 942) revealed a positive association between the occurrence of conflicts and bullying, as well as between fighting and bullying. Problem solving related negatively with bullying. Unexpectedly, we found no moderation. Our findings suggest that particularly the occurrence of conflicts relate to bullying, which may be owed to a strong negative connotation associated with (many) conflicts at work or to its negative impact on the work unit's social climate. Organisations may also encourage problem solving and discourage fighting to prevent bullying.
How to Cite: Baillien, E. & De Witte, H., (2010). The Relationship Between the Occurrence of Conflicts in the Work Unit, the Conflict Management Styles in the Work Unit and Workplace Bullying. Psychologica Belgica. 49(4), pp.207–226. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/pb-49-4-207
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Published on 01 Dec 2010.
Peer Reviewed

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