Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Dustin Berna

Second Advisor

Judith McKay

Third Advisor

Neil Katz

Abstract

Effective conflict management in the workplace can reduce the negative consequences of conflict. These negative outcomes can include low productivity, health-related stress, increased employee turnover, or litigation. A Human Resource (HR) professional can help mitigate these negative outcomes in the workplace when using effective conflict management behavior with employees. However, there is a void in research pertaining to HR professionals’ use of conflict management behavior.

This quantitative, correlational research study examined whether personality has an impact on assertive or cooperative conflict management behavior of HR professionals in the workplace. Statistical testing found a significant relationship between the harmonious, people-person (a Blue personality in the True Colors personality model) and the assertive conflict management behavior. Another finding of this study sheds light on the need for conflict resolution (CR) education and training in the HR field. The majority of HR professionals in this study said “yes” to wanting and needing training and education in the CR skillset. This skillset includes many of the same specific strategies that are used by mediators (reflective listening, reframing, building rapport, step-by-step problem-solving, etc.). These skills would also enable HR professionals to manage and resolve interpersonal employee conflict before it escalates and leads to negative outcomes.