Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics Theses

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Submitted to the Program of Organizational Dynamics, College of Liberal and Professional Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania

Advisor: Stephen G. Hart


Conflict is an inevitable part of organizational life. Depending on how leaders handle conflict, it is either an opportunity to improve work outcomes or a challenge that has negative effects on organizational productivity. Through a qualitative study on 14 leaders, this capstone explores strategies for helping teams engage in productive conflict. In the organizational behavior framework, conflict is often discussed in terms of resolution. Engaging in conflict shifts the focus on accepting its challenges without assuming that there is a need for resolution. This paper explores the dynamics of conflict through the participants’ personal reactions, past strategies, relationships within their workplace, and the organizational culture that they have experienced. The capstone benefits leaders, organizational development professionals and executive coaches who want to look at intervention strategies for teams and organizations dealing with the negative effects of conflict.


Teams, Leadership, Productive Conflict Engagement, Organizational Productivity, Organizational Behavior



Date Posted: 09 June 2020