Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


In this study, perceptions of conflict were examined with respect to sex and occupational rank. The model for this study was Tjosvold's cooperation theory. Yet, unlike much of Tjosvold's work, I examined cooperation as a dependent rather than an independent variable. A reward-level pre-test was used to account for the predisposition to cooperate, and a mixed motive scale (post-test) was used to measure any differences in cooperation between occupational ranks and the sexes. Two hypotheses in this study were tested. First, in a between-rank conflict, supervisors were expected to view the conflict as competitive, while subordinates were expected to view the conflict as cooperative. Second, it was hypothesized that in a same-sex conflict women would tend to view the conflict as more cooperative then would men. Contrary to hypothesis one, occupational rank did not affect the perception of conflict or cooperation. There was partial support for the second hypothesis. Specifically, at low levels of pre-test cooperativeness, women exhibited more workplace cooperation than did men. However, at high levels of pre-test cooperativeness, the sexes did not differ in workplace cooperation.


Industrial and Organizational Psychology