Cultural aspects of conflict-style in construction: insights through mindfulness

Babaoğlu, Feriha Füsun
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Cilt Başlığı
Fen Bilimleri Enstitüsü
This research study stems from the opinion that, there is a need for those individuals and parties who use the services of the Turkish construction industry, both building and civil engineering, and those that are engaged in one or other facets of it, to be involved with individual level implications of the problem of conflict and its management. Conflict is akin to construction project, given its complex and multi-cultural nature. The aim is to deepen our understanding of the relationship of culture and the possible effects of mindfulness to conflict management, in the construction industry. Culture is operationalized as integrated 'learned patterns of behavior'. The construction sector is well known to be linked with high levels of work-related stress leading to conflict and dispute. Given the human nature and the stress of meeting deadlines and tight schedules, there are high levels of interpersonal and interorganizational conflicts being reported by researchers in the construction industry. So, understanding the dynamics of human behavioral aspects of conflict management is vitally important for successful completion of projects. It is also essential for construction researchers to take aim at key issues related to the human behavioral aspects of conflict management. Conflict is natural and an inescapable phenomenon of human interaction and 'learned patterns of behavior' is affecting and can be affected by this interaction. Although numerous studies have been done to look at the effects of culture on conflict management and resolution of behavior in organizational settings; however no studies were found in the construction sector that especially investigate the impact of individual level individualistic and collectivistic values, namely 'self-construal' and individual 'mindfulness' construct. The premise of this explanatory study is to assess the influence of individual-level cultural values: (individualism / collectivism, namely self-construal) and mindfulness construct as variables to provide deeper insights and explanations to conflict behavior which is defined as individual conflict-style. Self-construal has significant role in explaining or predicting behavior in interpersonal conflict; but it did not receive enough attention by researchers in construction management field. This is also the first research study considering mindfulness construct in construction management field. To fill in this gap, conflict management styles of 185 professionals working for a global roll-out project, in Turkey have been analyzed using Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. Self-construal has been evaluated by using Balanced Integration-Differentiation self-construal scale. Mindfulness scores are gathered by five factor mindfulness questionnaire (5FMQ). The findings indicate that self-construal type as an individual-level cultural variable and mindfulness is important in explaining the differences in handling types of interpersonal conflict in construction industry. Objectives of the research are: •to explain effects of individual's differences in conflict styles in construction management, •to understand the relationship between conflict style and pre-existing 'learned patterns of behavior': whether conflict handling style is culture-free or culture-specific, •to understand the effects of mindfulness construct between self-construal (learned patterns of behavior) and conflict-style, The study focuses on the individual element of social sub-system in the organization, to their self-construal (individualism/collectivism) values and mindfulness, their relation to interpersonal conflict-style at the individual level. Conflict Management literature is reviewed together with Conflict-styles and implications of culture/self-construal and mindfulness for Conflict styles. This study offers self-construal and mindfulness as alternative means to better understand, explain and manage the differences in individual conflict-styles adopted by construction professionals. By use of a combined questionnaire survey analysis, firstly the general information, secondly individual self-construal thirdly mindfulness and finally the conflict-style of professionals are identified. Conflict styles are the dependent variables, whereas self-construal's and mindfulness are the independent variables. The results are presented by use of statistics and structural equation modelling (SEM) methods. After summarizing the conclusions, recommendations for industry practice are given.
Tez (Yüksek Lisans) -- İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi, Fen Bilimleri Enstitüsü, 2020
Anahtar kelimeler
Kültür, Culture, Proje yönetimi, Project management, Çatışma yönetimi, Conflict management, İnşaat yönetimi, Construction management