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Tracking managerial conflict adaptivity: Introducing a dynamic measure of adaptive conflict management in organizations


  • Peter T. Coleman,

    Corresponding author
    1. International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York, U.S.A.
    • Correspondence to: Peter T. Coleman, Box 53, Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th St., New York, NY 10027, U.S.A. E-mail:

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  • Katharina G. Kugler

    1. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet, Muenchen, Munich, Germany
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  • Both authors contributed equally to the development of this article.


Since Darwin, adaptation to change has been associated with survival and fit. Yet, despite this, leaders and managers often get stuck in dominating approaches to conflict, and few scholars have examined the role of adaptation in managing conflicts effectively over time and across changing situations. The goal of this paper is threefold. First, we develop a new measure for assessing conflict adaptivity of managers [the Managerial Conflict Adaptivity Assessment (MCAA)], based on a situated model of conflict in social relations. We define conflict adaptivity as the capacity to respond to different conflict situations in accordance with the demands specified by the situation. The measure consists of 15 distinct work-conflict scenarios and provides five behavioral response options, which represent five primary strategies employed in conflict. Individuals who tend to respond to the conflicts in a manner consistent with the situations provided are considered to be more adaptive. Second, we test and find that managerial conflict adaptivity is related to higher levels of satisfaction with conflict processes at work as well as higher levels of well-being at work. Third, we test the MCAA's construct validity and provide evidence that the MCAA is positively related to behavioral flexibility and self-efficacy. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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