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2019 International Association for Conflict Management Conference

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How Authorities Act to Manage Conflict and Foster Cooperation through Control, Trustworthiness, and Fairness

In a departure from the dominant emphasis in the organizational literature on employee responses to managerial actions, this paper presents a theory describing fundamental mechanisms that managers use to increase subordinate cooperation. We specifically argue that managers’ perceptions of subordinate non-compliance, which are perceived by managers as a form of superior-subordinate conflict, can stimulate two categories of concerns about their managerial authority: concerns about subordinate reliability and concerns about their perceived propriety. We then explain how managers attempt to address their concerns with efforts they make to implement controls, demonstrate their trustworthiness, and promote fairness. We conclude with a discussion about how our observations and theory refine and extend research on organizational control, trust, fairness, conflict, and leadership.

Chris Long
St. John's University
United States

Sim Sitkin
Duke University
United States

Laura B. Cardinal
University of South Carolina
United States


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