The relationship between the work unit's conflict management styles and bullying at work: Moderation by conflict frequency

E. Baillien*, G. Notelaers, S. Mathiessen, H. de Witte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Web of Science)


This study investigates the relationship between the work unit's conflict management styles and bullying at work. Inspired by the Dual Concern framework, the authors assume a positive relationship between avoiding, forcing and yielding and bullying and a negative relationship between problem-solving and bullying. Moreover, they expected these relationships to be intensified by conflict frequency. The results (N = 5062) reveal an unsatisfactory fit when not taking into account conflict frequency as a moderator. A multigroup SEM accounting for the moderating role of conflict frequency (five groups) does yield an acceptable fit: the 'very rarely' and 'yearly' group, and the 'monthly' and 'weekly' group show equal path coefficients. The 'daily' conflict group has its own parameters. Forcing and avoiding associate positively and problem-solving associates negatively with bullying; and these relationships intensify as a function of conflict frequency. There is no relationship between yielding and bullying at work within the various conflict frequency groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-419
Number of pages19
JournalEconomic and Industrial Democracy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • bullying at work
  • conflict management styles
  • Dual Concern Theory
  • mobbing
  • multigroup analyses

Cite this