Conflict stress and reduced well-being at work: The buffering effect of third-party help

Ellen Giebels, Onne Janssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

114 Citations (Scopus)


This study among 108 Dutch social services workers examined whether particularly the intrapsychic tension directly associated with interpersonal conflict at work, i.e., conflict stress, is responsible for reduced well-being in terms of emotional exhaustion, absenteeism, and turnover intentions. Furthermore, we explored whether these detrimental effects were buffered by third-party help. Factor analyses showed that third-party help could be considered an additional conflict management style, next to more traditional behavioural styles such as problem solving and forcing. As expected, conflict stress was positively related to emotional exhaustion, absenteeism, and turnover intentions even when controlled for task and relationship conflict. Furthermore, this relationship was strong for respondents who report low third-party help and nonexistent for respondents who report high third-party help. These findings suggest that third-party help is a successful conflict management strategy to prevent negative outcomes of interpersonal conflict in organizations.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)137-155
JournalEuropean journal of work and organizational psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • IR-80809

Cite this