Date of Conferral

2018

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Frederica Hendricks-Noble

Abstract

Managing interpersonal conflict between employees and their supervisors continues to be a challenge for all employees. Researchers have studied how leadership styles relate to conflict management in organizations, but little is known about how servant leadership relates to conflict management in the workplace. Servant leadership is a management style in which one motivates his or her employees by serving them. The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate how 7 servant leadership dimensions exhibited by supervisors correlated with 5 conflict management styles used by employees when employees had a conflict with their supervisor. A web-based survey invitation was shared with social service employees in 1 social service organization, an online participant recruitment service, and several social service-related groups on LinkedIn, and resulted in a sample of 230 participants. Stepwise multiple regression analysis was used to determine if a predictive relationship existed between the servant leadership dimensions, measured by the Servant Leadership Scale, and helpful and unhelpful conflict management styles, measured by the Rahim Organizational Conflict Inventoryâ??II. Servant leadership exhibited by supervisors correlated positively with both helpful and unhelpful conflict management styles used by employees. Findings from this dissertation can facilitate social change by helping supervisors learn how their actions impact their staff members' preferred conflict management styles. Specifically, supervisors can modify their leadership styles to encourage staff members to use the integrating conflict management style when disagreements arise between them and their staff members.

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