Graduation Year

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Paul E. Spector, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Ellis Gesten, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Peter Rentos, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kristen Salomon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joseph Vandello, Ph.D.

Keywords

task outcome conflict, task process conflict, relationship conflict, non-task organizational conflict, scale development, conflict measure

Abstract

Interpersonal conflict in organizations has been recognized as a leading social stressor across occupations with detrimental effects on employee well-being and organizational outcomes. However, reliable and valid measures of conflict are scarce and even the most widely used scales are limited by weaknesses in construct definition. In order to address the need for an improved measurement tool, the 63-item Interpersonal Conflict in Organizations Scale (ICOS) was developed. The ICOS was based on a comprehensive conceptualization of conflict that defines the construct on the basis of three definitional components: disagreement, interference, and negative emotion (Barki & Hartwick, 2004). In addition, the ICOS reliably measures four conflict types, including task outcome, task process, relationship, and non-task organizational conflict. Data were collected in two phases. The phase I sample included 126 participants from a variety of occupations whose data were used for the purpose of refining the scale. The scale validation (phase II) sample consisted of 260 full-time employees, who were also representative of various occupations. Initial validity results supported significant relationships with various organizational and personal outcome variables, including depression, job satisfaction, somatic symptoms, negative emotions, turnover intentions, counterproductive work behaviors, and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Factor analytic results for the four subscales, as well as, evidence for convergent validity are reported. Overall, the ICOS is a promising new measure of conflict that offers researchers the flexibility of assessing various types of conflict while addressing the conceptual limitations of existing scales.

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