He said, she said: the relationship between reproach and account behavior in organizational conflict
Paul, Gregory Dennis
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Current research on account behavior has focused on responses to failure events in which one person is the victim and another is the transgressor. This study builds on this research by using a framing lens to examine account behavior in a conflict situation in which individuals are both actors and recipients of failures. After establishing the relationship between organizational conflict and failure events, the study explored the relationship between account behavior and three aspects of issue development framing: conflict naming, conflict blaming, and intentionality. Employees of nonprofit organizations were asked to read and respond to a vignette-based scenario depicting a conflict between two directors of a nonprofit organization. The research findings indicated that conflict framing was a significant predictor of account strategies. Specifically, the use of mitigating statements was more likely when the event was cast as intentional and the reproacher accepted blame. A clear interaction emerged between gender and conflict naming. In all, this research indicated that more attention should be paid to conflict framing when studying individuals' or corporations' use of account strategies.