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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to test a multilevel model of the main and mediating effects of supervisor conflict management style (SCMS) climate and procedural justice (PJ) climate on employee strain. It is hypothesized that workgroup-level climate induced by SCMS can fall into four types: collaborative climate, yielding climate, forcing climate, or avoiding climate; that these group-level perceptions will have differential effects on employee strain, and will be mediated by PJ climate. Design/methodology/approach – Multilevel SEM was used to analyze data from 420 employees nested in 61 workgroups. Findings – Workgroups that perceived high supervisor collaborating climate reported lower sleep disturbance, job dissatisfaction, and action-taking cognitions. Workgroups that perceived high supervisor yielding climate and high supervisor forcing climate reported higher anxiety/depression, sleep disturbance, job dissatisfaction, and action-taking cognitions. Results supported a PJ climate mediation model when supervisors’ behavior was reported to be collaborative and yielding. Research limitations/implications – The cross-sectional research design places limitations on conclusions about causality; thus, longitudinal studies are recommended. Practical implications – Supervisor behavior in response to conflict may have far-reaching effects beyond those who are a party to the conflict. The more visible use of supervisor collaborative CMS may be beneficial. Social implications – The economic costs associated with workplace conflict may be reduced through the application of these findings. Originality/value – By applying multilevel theory and analysis, we extend workplace conflict theory.

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Journal Article

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