Gender and the emotional experience of relationship conflict: The differential effectiveness of avoidant conflict management

Julia B. Bear, Laurie R. Weingart, Gergana Todorova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Conflict research has shown that managing relationship conflict via avoidance is beneficial for team performance, but it is unclear whether avoidant conflict management benefits individuals on an affective level. Drawing on theories of gender roles, we proposed that gender is an important factor that influences whether avoidant conflict management mitigates the negative affective effects of relationship conflict. In a field study of a healthcare organization, we found that relationship conflict resulted in negative emotions, which, in turn, were positively associated with emotional exhaustion two months later. Avoidant conflict management attenuated the relationship between negative emotions engendered by relationship conflict and emotional exhaustion, but this effect depended on gender. Among men, the extent to which they used an avoidant conflict management style mitigated the association between negative emotions and emotional exhaustion, whereas among women, avoidant conflict management did not attenuate this relationship. Findings are discussed in terms of theoretical and practical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-231
Number of pages19
JournalNegotiation and Conflict Management Research
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

Keywords

  • Avoidant conflict management
  • Emotions
  • Gender
  • Relationship conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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