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
Date Written: 2012
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: Suggested Citation
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By Linda Steele