Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The purpose of this thesis was to conduct preliminary research designed to move toward the development of a prescriptive model of managerial third-party intervention in conflicts between subordinates. Similarities have been noted between Sheppard's (1984) recommendations for the development of such a model and the Vroom-Yetton model of managerial decision making (Vroom & Jago, 1988: Vroom & Yetton, 1973).;Two studies were conducted that examined aspects of Sheppard's recommendations. Study 1 was designed to examine the underlying dimensionality of a set of 25 conflict intervention strategies derived from the literature. Participants were asked to rate the similarity-dissimilarity of pairs of strategies. The resulting matrix was subjected to a multidimensional scaling analysis. Two dimensions were identified and labelled: (a) avoid versus approach conflict, and (b) autocratic versus participative. It was noted that the latter dimension is the same as the dimension included in the Vroom-Yetton model and that the two-dimensional structure found in the present research may suggest that managers make more than one decision when determining how to intervene in conflicts between subordinates.;Study 2 was designed to investigate the influence of the desired outcomes of conflict intervention on the choice of intervention strategy. Participants were presented with three scenarios in which a manager was faced with a conflict between two subordinates. For each scenario, variables representing each pole of one of the three factors identified in research by Irving, Meyer, and Gemmell (1991) were manipulated in a 2 x 2 design. Participants were asked to indicate how they would respond to the conflict along the dimensions identified in Study 1 as well as dimensions described by other authors (Blake & Mouton, 1964; Thibaut & Walker, 1975).;The results of the second study generally supported the notion that managers' settlement preferences may motivate their intervention in conflicts among subordinates. A secondary purpose of Study 2 was to investigate the influence of individual differences on strategic choice. Neither personality characteristics nor leadership style accounted for a large proportion of variance in strategic choice. The results of this study also provided little evidence for the notion that individual differences would have greater predictive power in "weak" situations than in "strong" situations.



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