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Constructive Conflict Management and Employee Perception of Performance in the U.S Federal Government

34 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 29 Aug 2012

Jerrell Coggburn

North Carolina State University

Paul Battaglio

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Mark D. Bradbury

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Organizational conflict is typically thought of as a malady to be avoided or, at least, quickly resolved. Such a view, however, ignores the potential value of conflict — that is, the constructive management of conflict — to organizational performance. Managerial practices that result in too little conflict may both shape and reflect an organizational culture that is hypersensitive to discord, dissent, and, ultimately, innovation. Conversely, conflict management practices that promote excessive levels of conflict may overload an organization with information, rendering it incapable of reaching timely decisions, or generate animosity and other unproductive outcomes. In this paper, we examine constructive conflict management, an approach to managing conflict that gives voice to employees and encourages authentic participation in resolving issues and making decisions. We hypothesize that such conflict management is positively related to organizational performance. However, owing to insights from the management literature, there is the potential for “too much of a good thing” when it comes to encouraging conflict. So, utilizing a series of conflict and performance related questions from the 2005 U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board’s Merit Principles Survey, we also assess whether the relationship between conflict management and performance is better understood as curvilinear.

Keywords: public management, public administration, conflict management, government performance

Suggested Citation

Coggburn, Jerrell and Battaglio, Paul and Bradbury, Mark D., Constructive Conflict Management and Employee Perception of Performance in the U.S Federal Government (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2107341

Jerrell Coggburn (Contact Author)

North Carolina State University ( email )

Campus Box 8102
Raleigh, NC 27695
United States

Paul Battaglio

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Mark D. Bradbury

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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