Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The illusion of courage in confronting interpersonal conflict
by Blunt, Melanie G., Ph.D., University of Missouri - Saint Louis, 2009, 139; 3383770
Abstract (Summary)

This research investigated the effects of social factors and individuals' emotional responses to interpersonal conflict situations, so as to better understand potential implications for constructively addressing conflict. In particular, individuals' willingness to engage in socially risky situations tends to be overestimated in comparison to their behavior in actual situations (i.e., illusion of courage). The present research examined the illusion of courage in confronting interpersonal conflict. Emotions such as fear and anxiety were proposed to have an inhibitory effect, thereby reducing the likelihood that conflict will be confronted. The impact of power status was also examined, such that individuals' intentions to confront conflict were proposed to differ depending on whether the participant interacted with a subordinate, peer, or supervisor. No difference was observed in the negative affective state or confrontation intentions of participants in the actual versus hypothetical conflict conditions. As predicted, the participants in the actual conflict condition reported significantly higher confrontation than observed levels of confrontation. Analysis of power status on confrontation revealed unexpected results. Individuals reported greater intentions of confronting subordinates than peers, and observed confrontation was lower when confronting a subordinate than a peer or boss. The predicted interaction between position power and conflict situation on confrontation behavior was not found. Limitations and possibilities for future research are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Patterson, Miles
School: University of Missouri - Saint Louis
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-B 70/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Personality psychology
Keywords: Illusion of courage, Interpersonal conflict, Work conflict
Publication Number: 3383770
ISBN: 978-1-109-46896-0
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