Mental Models at Work: Cognitive Causes and Consequences of Conflict in Organizations

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40(1), 92-110, 2014, DOI: 10.1177/0146167213506468.

Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 14-24

51 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2014

See all articles by Nir Halevy

Nir Halevy

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Taya R. Cohen

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

Eileen Y. Chou

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

James Katz

Independent

A. T. Panter

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

This research investigated the reciprocal relationship between mental models of conflict and various forms of dysfunctional social relations in organizations, including experiences of task and relationship conflicts, interpersonal hostility, workplace ostracism, and abusive supervision. We conceptualize individual differences in conflict construals as reflecting variation in people’s belief structures about conflict and explore how different elements in people’s associative networks - in particular, their beliefs about their best and worst strategy in conflict - relate to their personality, shape their experiences of workplace conflict, and influence others’ behavioral intentions toward them. Five studies using a variety of methods (including cross-sectional surveys, a 12-week longitudinal diary study, and an experiment) show that the best strategy beliefs relate in theoretically meaningful ways to individuals’ personality, shape social interactions and relationships significantly more than the worst strategy beliefs, and are updated over time as a result of individuals’ ongoing experiences of conflict.

Keywords: Conflict; mental models; personality; best strategy; interdependence theory; HEXACO;

Suggested Citation

Halevy, Nir and Cohen, Taya R. and Chou, Eileen Y. and Katz, James and Panter, A. T., Mental Models at Work: Cognitive Causes and Consequences of Conflict in Organizations (2014). Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40(1), 92-110, 2014, DOI: 10.1177/0146167213506468. , Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 14-24, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2459109

Nir Halevy

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Taya R. Cohen (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
4122686677 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tepper.cmu.edu/our-faculty-and-research/about-our-faculty/faculty-profiles/tcohen/cohen-t

Eileen Y. Chou

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

James Katz

Independent ( email )

A. T. Panter

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

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