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Ethics of managing interpersonal conflict in organizations

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Although managers spend over twenty percent of their time in conflict management, organization theorists have provided very few guidelines to help them do their job ethically. This paper attempts to provide some guidelines so that organizational members can use the styles of handling interpersonal conflict, such as integrating, obliging, dominating, avoiding, and compromising, with their superiors, subordinates, and peers ethically and effectively. It has been argued in this paper that, in general, each style of handling interpersonal conflict is appropriate if it is used to attain organization's proper end.

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M. Afzalur Rahim is Professor of Management at Western Kentucky University. He holds B.Com. (Hons.) and M.Com, M.B.A., and Ph.D. degrees. Dr. Rahim teaches courses on organizational behavior, strategic management, and management of organizational conflict. He is the author of over 65 articles and book chapters, five cases, and three research instruments on conflict and power. He is the author of six books, four of which are on conflict management. He is the editor of theInternational Journal of Conflict Management and theInternational Journal of Organizational Analysis. He is the founder of the International Association for Conflict Management and President of the International Conference on Advances in Management.

Jan Edward Garrett is Associate Professor in the Philosophy and Religion Department at Western Kentucky University. His recent publications include ‘Persons, Kinds and Corporations: An Aristotelian Perspective,’ which appeared inPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research, and ‘Unredistributable Corporate Moral Responsibility,’ which appeared in this journal.

Gabriel F. Buntzman is Associate Professor of Management at Western Kentucky University. His current research interests concern relationships between ethics, conflict and the strategic management of organizations. His work in the area of conflict management has appeared in theInternational Journal of Conflict Management, theJournal of Psychology, and three books.

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Rahim, M.A., Garrett, J.E. & Buntzman, G.F. Ethics of managing interpersonal conflict in organizations. J Bus Ethics 11, 423–432 (1992).

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  • Economic Growth
  • Organizational Member
  • Organization Theorist
  • Conflict Management
  • Interpersonal Conflict