Do informal groups threaten organizations? Comparing group conflict management styles with supervisors

Main Article Content

Shaysh Nazzal Alshammri


This research aims to identify the role played by informal groups in organizational conflict. The existing literature mainly focuses on the effects of informal groups on the behaviors of employees, such as resisting management and disobeying instructions. However, studies that specifically measure how informal groups affect the behaviors of their members in handling conflicts with supervisors are lacking. This research uses quantitative methodology. Data were collected using the Rahim Organizational Conflict Inventory II survey. The participants were 316 workers in various American organizations. The results were analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance, one-way analysis of variance, Pearson’s correlation coefficient, and the two-samples z-test. The results show that employees who belong to informal groups use the dominating style more frequently than do employees who do not belong to informal groups. However, they do not always use dominating styles; occasionally, they tend to use compromising and integrating styles as well. Age has a significant impact on the relationship between informal groups and integrating and dominating styles. There is also a relationship between gender and avoiding style among employees who belong to informal groups. However, there is no preference for a certain conflict style among the three types of informal groups. The results have implications for management science, including human resources and organizational behavior. However, the research applications may be limited for employees in collectivist societies that are different from American (an individualistic society). The relationship between informal groups and conflict style with supervisors has not been studied before. Thus, this research focuses on not only the five conflict styles but also the influence of demographic variables to comprehensively understand this relationship.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

Article Details

Author Biography

Shaysh Nazzal Alshammri, University of Hail- Saudi Arabia

  • Faculty member, Business Administration College,  University of Hail, Saudi Arabia.
  • Received PhD in 2012 from Nova Southeastern University in the United States of America.
  • Assumed significant positions at Northern Border University, including Vice Dean of Faculty and Personnel Affairs, Vice Dean of Graduate Studies, Head of International Cooperation and Knowledge Exchange Unite, and Head of the Marketing Department.
  • Participated in and supervised many academic and professional committees at Northern Border University and Hail University.
Has previously published papers in the field of negotiation and organizational conflict


Agarwal, R. D. (1982). Organization and Management. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill.

Al-Hamdan, Z., Norrie, P., & Anthony, D. (2014). Conflict management styles used by nurses in Jordan. Journal of Research in Nursing, 19(1), 40-53.

Anderton, D. L., Barrett, R. E., & Bogue, D. J. (2010). The Population of the United States, 3 ed. New York, NY: The Free Press.

Appannaiah, H., Reddy, P., & Kavitha, B. R. (2009). Organisational Behaviour. Global Media. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Aswathappa, K. (2009). Organisational Behaviour. Global Media. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Bode, T. (2014). The relationship between action identification and style of processing for managers and non-managers in the U.S. manufacturing industry. Dissertation (Doctorate in Business), Available: Access: 1/1/2020

Borkowski, N. (2016). Organizational behavior, theory, and design in health care, 2 ed. Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Dainton, M. (2015). An interdependence approach to relationship maintenance in interracial marriage. Journal of Social, 71(4), 772-787. doi:10.1111/josi.12148

De Beer, A., Rossouw, D., Moolman, B., Le Roux, E., & Labuschagne, M. (1998). Focus on supervision in general management. South Africa: Kenwyn.

Deb, S. (2001). Contemporary issues on management. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors.

Fallon, L. F., Begun, J. W., & Riley, W. J. (2013). Managing health organizations for quality and performance. Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Fisher, R., & Ury, W. (1981). Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in. Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin.

Folger, J. P., Poole, M. S., & Stutman, R. K. (2005). Working through conflict: strategies for relationships, groups, and organizations, 5 ed., Massachusetts: Pearson Education.

Forsyth, D. R. (2010). Group dynamics, 5 ed. California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

French, R., Rayner, C., Rees, G., Rumbles, S., Schermerhorn, J., Hunt, J., & Osborn, R.. (2011). Organizational behaviour, 2 ed. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Gamage, D. T. (2006). Professional development for leaders and managers of self-governing schools. New York: Springer.

Gudykunst, W. B. (2003). Cross-cultural and intercultural communication. California: Sage Publications.

Harper, A. A. (2016). The impact of consumer security awareness on adopting the internet of things: A correlational study. Dissertation (Doctorate in Business). Available: Access: 1/2/2020

Hatch, M. J. (2011). Organizations: A very short introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hiriyappa, B. (2008). Organizational behavior. New Age International. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Holt, J. L., & Devore, C. J. (2005). Culture, gender, organizational role, and styles of conflict resolution: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 29(2), 165-196.

Hussein, R. T. (1989). Informal groups, leadership and productivity. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 10(1), 9-16. Available: Access: 15/12/2019

Hussein, R. T. (1990). Understanding and managing informal groups. Management Decision, 28(8), 36-41. Available: Access: 10/12/2019

Jain, S. (2010). Gender perspective on conflict resolution styles of aspiring Indian managers. Asia Pacific Business Review, 6(4), 88-95.

Jeong, H. W. (2010). Conflict management and resolution. New York: Routledge.

Khanka, S. S. (2006). Organisational behaviour: Text and cases. India: S. Chand.

Kroon, J. (1995). General management, 2 ed. South Africa: Pretoria.

Lashley, C., & Lee-Ross, D. (2003). Organization behaviour for leisure services, 1 ed. Massachusetts: Routledge.

Lee, R., & Lawrence, P. (2013). Organizational behaviour: politics at work. United Kingdom: Routledge.

Lune, H. (2010). Understanding Organizations. United Kingdom: Polity Press.

Maiese, M. (2003). Moral or value conflicts. Available: Access: 7/15/2020

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50,(4), 370-396. doi:10.1037/h0054346

Mosely, D. C., Megginson, L. C., & Pietri, P. H. (2015). Supervisory management: The art of inspiring, empowering, and developing people, 9 ed. Connecticut: Cengage Learning.

Mukherjee, S., & Basu, S. K. (2005). Organisation & management and business communication, 1 ed. India: New Age International.

Mukhtar, S. A. (2013). Organizational conflict management strategies on employee job satisfaction: A conceptual relationship. IJMRR, 3(5), 2855-2862.

Mullins, L. J. (2007). Management and organisational behaviour, 8 ed. United Kingdom: Pearson Education. ProQuest Ebook Central, Access: 15/11/2019

Nair, S. R. (2009). Organisational behaviour. Global Media. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Plunkett, W. R., Allen, G., & Attner, R. F. (2013). Management: Meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Ohio: South-Western, Cengage Learning.

Rahim, A., & Bonoma, T. V. (1979). Managing organizational conflict: A model for diagnosis and intervention. Psychological Reports, 44(3_suppl), 1323-1344.

Rahim, M. A. (2001). Managing conflict in organizations. 3rd ed. Westport, Conn.: Quorum Books.

Rahim, M. A. (2002). Toward a theory of managing organizational conflict. International Journal of Conflict Management, 13(3), 206-235.

Rahim, M. A. (2011). Managing conflict in organizations, 4 ed. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

Rainey, H. G., & Bozeman, B. (2000). Comparing public and private organizations: Empirical research and the power of the A Priori. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 10(2), 447-469.

Rao, V., & Krishna, H. V. (2002). Management: Text and cases, 1 ed. India: Excel Books.

Rao, P. S. (2010). Organisational behaviour, 1 ed. Himalaya Publishing House. ProQuest Ebook Central, Access: 1/1/2020

Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2017). Organizational behavior. Essex, UK: Pearson Education Limited.

Singh, B. D. (2008). Managing conflict and negotiation. New Delhi: Excel Books.

Shockley-Zalabak, P. S., & Morley, D. D. (1984). Sex differences in conflict style preferences. Communication Research Reports, 1,(1), 28-32.

Slocum, J. W., & Hellriegel, D. (2007). Organizational behavior, 11 ed. Ohio: Western Cengage Learning.

Ukpe, I. (2018). Psychological empowerment and employee involvement in organizational change: The role of commitment to change. Dissertation (Doctorate in Business).. Available: Access: 1/11/2019

Weller, L. D., &Weller, S. (2002). The assistant principal: Essentials for effective school leadership. California: Corwin Press.

Wilmot, W. W., & Hocker, J. L. (2007). Interpersonal conflict, 7 ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Zayed, A. M., & Kamel, M. M. (2005). Teams and group works. Egypt: CAPSCU. Available at Access: 20/11/2019