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J Nurs Manag. 2010 Nov;18(8):981-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2010.01154.x. Epub 2010 Oct 4.

Antecedents and consequences of intra-group conflict among nurses.

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Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada.



To test a theoretical model linking selected antecedent variables to intra-group conflict among nurses, and subsequently conflict management style, job stress and job satisfaction.


A contributing factor to the nursing shortage is job dissatisfaction as a result of conflict among nurses. To develop strategies to reduce conflict, research is needed to understand the causes and outcomes of conflict in nursing work environments.


A predictive, non-experimental design was used in a random sample of 277 acute care nurses. Structural equation modelling was used to analyse the hypothesised model.


Nurses' core self-evaluations, complexity of care and relationships with managers and nursing colleagues influenced their perceived level of conflict. Conflict management style partially mediated the relationship between conflict and job satisfaction. Job stress had a direct effect on job satisfaction and core self-evaluation had a direct effect on job stress.


Conflict and its associated outcomes is a complex process, affected by dispositional, contextual and interpersonal factors. How nurses manage conflict may not prevent the negative effects of conflict, however, learning to manage conflict using collaboration and accommodation may help nurses experience greater job satisfaction.


Strategies to manage and reduce conflict include building interactional justice practices and positive interpersonal relationships.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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