Coping with Interpersonal Conflict at Work in Small Business: the Moderating Role of Supervisor and Co-Worker Support

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Coping with interpersonal conflict at work in small business: The moderating role of supervisor and co-worker support Inés Martínez-Corts, Marina Boz, Francisco J. Medina, Miriam Benítez and Lourdes Munduate

Inés Martínez-Corts, Marina Boz, Francisco J. Medina and Lourdes Munduate, Department of Social Psychology, University of Seville, Seville, Spain. Míriam Benítez, Department of Clinical, Experimental and Social Psychology, University of Huelva, Huelva, Spain.

Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to: Inés Martínez Corts. Department of Social Psychology (Departamento de Psicología Social), University of Seville (Universidad de Sevilla), C/ José Camilo Cela, s/n - 41018, Sevilla, Spain, Phone +34 955420075, Fax +34 954557711, Email: Abstract

The aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between two types of interpersonal conflict at work (relationship and task conflict) and job satisfaction in the context of small business, focusing on the buffering role that different sources of social support (supervisors and co-workers) may play in this relationship. Adopting such a contingent perspective our main findings show that, first, supervisor support buffers the link between relationship conflict and job satisfaction while co-worker support moderates the link between task conflict and job satisfaction, and second, that the model estimating the influence of supervisor support and relationship conflict is relatively more important for predicting employees’ job satisfaction than the model that relates co-worker support and task conflict. Our study makes a few contributions to research on small businesses and interpersonal conflict at work, two streams that traditionally have been developed separately, and finally highlight important practical implications for the field of Human Resource Management.

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