Mental models at work: Cognitive causes and consequences of conflict in organizations Dec 19, 2013 By Eileen ChouNir HalevyTaya R. CohenJames J. KatzA. T. Panter Mental models at work: Cognitive causes and consequences of conflict in organizations Mental models at work: Cognitive causes and consequences of conflict in organizations This research investigated the reciprocal relationship between mental models of conflict and various forms of dysfunctional social relations in organizations, including experiences of task and relationship conflicts, interpersonal hostility, workplace ostracism, and abusive supervision. We conceptualize individual differences in conflict construals as reflecting variation in people’s belief structures about conflict and explore how different elements in people’s associative networks—in particular, their beliefs about their best and worst strategy in conflict—relate to their personality, shape their experiences of workplace conflict, and influence others’ behavioral intentions toward them. Five studies using a variety of methods (including cross-sectional surveys, a 12-week longitudinal diary study, and an experiment) show that the best strategy beliefs relate in theoretically meaningful ways to individuals’ personality, shape social interactions and relationships significantly more than the worst strategy beliefs, and are updated over time as a result of individuals’ ongoing experiences of conflict. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin Areas of focus Leadership Social Psychology Eileen Chou Chou’s research focuses on the organizational, social, and psychological forces that shape individual and group behavior in organizational settings. Read full bio Nir Halevy Taya R. Cohen James J. Katz A. T. Panter Related Content Eileen Chou The Goldilocks Contract: The Synergistic Benefits of Combining Structure and Autonomy for Persistence, Creativity, and Cooperation Research Contracts are commonly used to regulate a wide range of interactions and relationships. Yet relying on contracts as a mechanism of control often comes at a cost to motivation. Safety in Numbers: Why the Mere Physical Presence of Others Affects Risk‐taking Behaviors Research As social mammals, being in a group signals a state of relative security. Risk‐taking behavior in other social mammals formed the basis for our prediction that the mere physical presence of others, absent any social interaction, would create a psychological state of security that, in turn, would promote greater risk‐taking behavior.