Handbook of Conflict Management Research
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Handbook of Conflict Management Research

Edited by Oluremi B. Ayoko, Neal M. Ashkanasy and Karen A. Jehn

This unique book draws together current thoughts and research in conflict management. Specifically, it brings a wealth of knowledge from authorities in the field on emerging issues such as power in conflict, cognition and emotions in conflict, leading conflict from multiple perspectives and cultural orientations, the role of context in conflict and the teaching of conflict management. Altogether, the Handbook provides a critical avenue for researchers and practitioners’ continued engagement in conflict research and management theory.
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Chapter 8: Conflict cultures: A new frontier for conflict management research and practice

Michele J. Gelfand, Jesse R. Harrington and Lisa M. Leslie


Previous research on conflict management has primarily focused on the individual and small group level of analysis, and there is little extant research on conflict management at the organizational level. In this chapter, we describe theory and evidence which suggests that organizations provide strong contexts that define what is a socially shared and normative way to manage conflict—what we call conflict cultures—that ultimately minimize variation in individuals’ conflict management strategies within organizations. We discuss the principles of our organizational conflict culture theory, and expound upon the defining characteristics of four conflict cultures—dominant, collaborative, avoidant, and passive-aggressive—how they emerge through top-down and bottom-up forces, and their multilevel consequences. In all, a conflict culture perspective offers unique insights into understanding how conflict operates within organizational systems and holds important implications for promoting organizational change.

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