Abstract

This article examines the customs of conflict management among executives at the tops of two large business organizations. The argument advanced here derives ftom the notion that conflict management varies with the informal norms that govern interpersonal networks. Ethnographic, social network, and perceptual data collected in the present investigation suggest that where executives experienceftagmented and atomized interpersonal networks, they are more likely to manage conflict without conftontation than in networks of strongly and densely connected individuals. The results of this study carry implications for the relationship between attitudes and behaviors among corporate managers regarding conflict management, for the normative bases of decision making, and for the ''fit" between social context and routine conflict management.

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