Study Finds Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Conflict Management Style | Pollack Peacebuilding Systems

December 21, 2020by Noah Shaw

Summary of:

Mohamed, R., El Badawy, T.A., & Magdy, M.M. (2020). The role of emotional intelligence in conflict management style adoption. International Journal of Business and Economics, 5(2), 9-23.

Background & Theory:

Many research studies have been conducted on the role of emotional intelligence in solving conflict. Likewise, many researchers have studied the effects of conflict management styles in the workplace. However, not much research has been dedicated to the relationship between emotional intelligence and conflict management styles. This study examines this relationship in the context of Egyptian multinational companies.

Question(s):

Research was conducted by Radwa Mohamed et al. to answer the following question:

    1. Which conflict management styles are positively correlated with emotional intelligence?

Methods:

70 participants were recruited from several multinational organizations in Egypt to partake in this study. Emotional intelligence was measured via the Self-Report Emotional Intelligence Test, which includes 33 items and a Likert-type scale. Conflict management style was measured with the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, which details a person’s response to conflict situations through detailing the conflict management styles one would likely adopt: avoidance, compromise, collaboration, competing, and accommodation. SPSS was utilized to analyze the data and Pearson correlation and regression tests were used to test the hypotheses.

Results:

Only the competing conflict management style was significantly and positively correlated with overall emotional intelligence. These results suggest that participants with higher emotional intelligence are more likely to utilize the competing conflict management style to address what they want in conflict than those with lower emotional intelligence. The regression analysis of this study determined that emotional intelligence explains around 8% of the degree of utilizing the competing style. Additionally, a significant positive relationship was found between perceptions of emotions and both the competing and accommodating styles.

The authors suggested that these results could partially be explained by Egyptian cultural norms that lead to a low adoption of the collaborative style. In fact, the majority of participants in this study indicated that they typically utilize either the avoiding or compromising conflict management styles. The authors also noted the study’s relatively small sample size as a limitation which could potentially contribute to skewed results.

What We Can Learn:

Looking over this research, we can take away the following key insight:

  • This study suggests that greater emotional intelligence leads to a greater likelihood of adopting the competing conflict management style among employees within Egyptian multinational organizations. However, the authors also noted that no conflict management style is appropriate for all situations. Therefore, employees should have the intelligence to choose the style that best fits their situation.

Final Takeaways

For Consultants: In some organizations, helping employees or leadership raise their emotional intelligence may help them address their needs in conflict situations.

For Everyone: Find out for yourself what your typical conflict management styles are and what your emotional intelligence score is. Knowing this will help you better understand how you react in conflict situations.

Noah Shaw

Noah is the Peace Operations Coordinator at Pollack Peacebuilding Systems. His writing on the latest workplace conflict resolution research has been featured on Mediate.com.

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