Effective Coping With Supervisor Conflict Depends on Control: Implications for Work Strains

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Abstract

This study examined the interactive effects of interpersonal conflict at work, coping strategy, and perceived control specific to the conflict on employee work strain using multisource and time-lagged data across two samples. In Sample 1, multisource data was collected from 438 employees as well as data from participant-identified secondary sources (e.g., significant others, best friends). In Sample 2, time-lagged data from 100 full-time employees was collected in a constructive replication. Overall, findings suggested that the success of coping efforts as indicated by lower strains hinges on the combination of the severity of the stressor, perceived control over the stressor, and coping strategy used (problem-focused vs. emotion-focused coping). Results from the current study provide insights for why previous efforts to document the moderating effects of coping have been inconsistent, especially with regards to emotion-focused coping.

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