Effects of relationship climate, control mechanism, and communications on conflict resolution behavior and performance outcomes

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Abstract

In this two-year study we develop and test a comprehensive model of conflict management. The conceptual model commences by demonstrating the importance of channel members' past history of interactions as 'setting the stage' for members' present ability to interact, that is, communicate, resolve conflict disputes, and ultimately, culminate in performance outcomes (financial as well as relational). In effect, we track the full gamut of conflict management related constructs in the conceptual model, from antecedent conditions to the consequents of conflict management. Empirical results, utilizing a sample of 282 retailing agents affiliated to a large North American supplier (principal) across two years, indicate strong evidence for fourteen of the eighteen hypotheses drawn from our conceptual model. Specifically, among other effects, data reveal that past history of cooperative versus conflictive orientations and bureaucratic versus trust-based governance mechanisms significantly influence the communication strategies adopted, which in turn determine whether the distributive or integrative conflict resolution behaviors are adopted. Further, the choice of conflict resolution behaviors adopted commensurately influences relational performance, and the type of communication strategy adopted influences financial performance. The paper concludes with a series of managerial implications and an agenda for future research. © 2007 New York University.

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Koza, K. L., & Dant, R. P. (2007). Effects of relationship climate, control mechanism, and communications on conflict resolution behavior and performance outcomes. Journal of Retailing, 83(3), 279–296. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretai.2007.03.002

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