Superior-subordinate Conflict Management Styles an Empirical Study of Malaysian Companies

Kim Lian Lee


This study examined the relationships between organizational context, conflict handling styles and subordinates’ satisfaction
with supervision. Data from 139 respondents from major industries in Malaysia including service, manufacturing,
mining and construction demonstrated that subordinates were more satisfied with their superiors’ supervision through
their exercise of integrating, compromising, and obliging styles. On the other hand, subordinates who perceived their
superiors as primarily utilizing dominating and avoiding style viewed them as incompetent in supervision and thus lowering
their level of satisfaction with supervision. Among the conflict handling styles, integrating was most correlated with organic
structure. The organic structure was found to be positively correlated with the satisfaction with supervision. These results
implied that organic structure can be a potent force in maintaining organizational stability, although not unambiguously, the
present results also seemed to suggest that subordinates tend to be less satisfied with superiors with wider span of control.

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International Business Research  ISSN 1913-9004 (Print), ISSN 1913-9012 (Online)

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