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When Do Conflicts Feel Right for Prevention-Focused Individuals? The Debiasing Effect of Low Need for Closure

  • Zhi-Xue Zhang (a1), Xin Wei (a2), Melody Manchi Chao (a3) and Yi Zheng (a1)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

Both lay beliefs and research findings suggest that people tend to avoid conflicts if interpersonal harmony is highly valued. Counter to this widely accepted convention, we adopt the perspective of motivated social cognition to argue that conflict avoidance is subject to the joint effect of the need for epistemic security (need for closure) and the motivation to prevent losses (prevention focus). Such effect is mediated by negative anticipation towards the consequences of confronting conflicts. Results across three studies indicated that individuals with relatively high need for closure and high prevention focus show the strongest conflict avoidance tendency due to their heightened negative anticipation. However, with low need for closure, the negative anticipation and conflict avoidance tendency of high prevention-focused individuals are weakened or even disappear. This research offers a novel theory about the mechanism of conflict avoidance. The findings about the debiasing role of low need for closure also provide rich implications for conflict resolutions.

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Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Zhi-Xue Zhang (zxzhang@gsm.pku.edu.cn)
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Management and Organization Review
  • ISSN: 1740-8776
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