Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Marita Apter-Desselles


Workplace interpersonal conflict has been identified as a potential major source of stress for several occupations. Occupational stress literature concerning this stressor reveals that interpersonal conflict can have adverse outcomes for organizations including absenteeism, turnover, and workers’ compensation claims for psychological injury. Accordingly, researchers have developed measures aimed at capturing perceptions of workplace interpersonal conflict to remediate and prevent it in organizations. Although workplace interpersonal conflict has received considerable attention, there is little research assessing perceptions of conflict from a dyadic perspective in lateral (coworker-coworker) and hierarchical (supervisor-subordinate) relationships between supervisors and non-supervisors. This is important because conflict may be perceived more frequently or intensely between two individuals, compared to a group or organizational team, based on previous research indicating that individuals perceive and experience conflict differently in dyads and groups. The Workplace Interpersonal Conflict Scale was used to compare perceptions of the frequency and intensity of lateral and hierarchical workplace interpersonal conflict among supervisors and non-supervisors in various industries, providing further validity evidence for the instrument. It was expected that supervisors in hierarchical relationships would perceive the most frequent and intense conflict with a subordinate. However, results revealed that participants (i.e., supervisors and non-supervisors) in hierarchical relationships, regardless of whether they were higher or lower in the hierarchy, perceived significantly more frequent conflict than participants in lateral relationships with no significant differences for conflict intensity. An interpretation of the findings is provided in addition to limitations and future directions of the study.