ORGANIZATIONAL VARIABLES AND TEACHERS' PEER-CONFLICT-HANDLING STRATEGIES
BLOOMFIELD, JUDITH S.
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not a relationship exists between a teacher's perception of three human organizational variables in his/her school, namely: climate, leadership behavior and communication patterns, and the conflict-handling strategy the teacher tends to choose in dealing with peer conflict in the school.;The subjects were 130 teachers who are on the faculties of five elementary schools in one district of the New York City school system. The Thomas-Killman MODE Instrument and the Likert Profile of a School, Teachers Form 3 were administered. The data was analyzed using a Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance by rank. Chi Square Tests of Independence were used to study background variables, age, sex, and number of years at school.;The data obtained did not provide a basis for rejecting any of the null hypotheses. Consequently, the conjectures of this study were not established, namely: (1)In dealing with conflict with school peers, the more a teacher perceives the organizational climate of her school as participative rather than authoritarian, the more she will tend to choose a constructive rather than a destructive conflict-handling strategy. (2)In dealing with conflict with school peers, the more a teacher perceives the leadership behavior in her school as participative rather than authoritarian, the more she will tend to choose a constructive rather than a destructive conflict-handling strategy. (3)In dealing with conflict with school peers, the more a teacher perceives the communication patterns of her school as participative rather than authoritarian, the more she will tend to choose a constructive rather than a destructive conflict-handling strategy. Further, there were no significant differences for any one of the background variables, sex, age, or number of years at school insofar as subjects' perceptions of the organizational variables or the manner of handling conflict were concerned.;The researcher has concluded that although the study of teachers' choices of conflict-handling strategies is very important, future researchers must recognize that factors other than organizational variables may play a significant role in a person's conflict-handling strategy. The findings of this study suggest that the personality of the individual may be a determining influence on the individual's manner of resolving conflict. It is also important to recognize that the homogeneity of the population used may not have allowed for the diversity of results needed for significant findings. The researcher would also suggest caution in using a workshop setting for the administration of instruments since that setting makes it difficult to control for social desirability bias. Finally, significant results might best be established through direct observation of people using conflict-handling strategies, rather than through reliance on instruments which measure their perception of the way in which they handle conflict.
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