Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Adult Education and Human Resource Development

First Advisor's Name

Dr. Thomas Reio

First Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dr. Haiying Long

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Committee Chair

Third Advisor's Name

Dr. Judith Bernier

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Dr. Teresa Lucas

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Organizational conflict, Problem-solving, Paradoxical problem-solving, Teamwork

Date of Defense



This mixed method research was used to develop and validate an adapted survey that incorporates the paradoxical problem-solving concept under the context of social conflict theory, and to provide employees and employers more creative techniques to manage organizational conflict. One aspect of social conflict theory, problem-solving theory, focused on how individuals respond when confronted with unfamiliar tasks (Newell, Shaw & Simon, 1958a).

A concurrent mixed methods design was used to determine validity and reliability evidence. This study consisted of four phases. Phase one was a qualitative phase that utilized 11 experts, examining for validity evidence of test content. Phase two consisted of two stages (a) 3-person focus group pilot study which was qualitative, and (b) pilot study survey (N= 52) which was quantitative. The 3-person focus group pilot study examined validity evidence based on response processes, and the pilot survey examined for reliability evidence and validity evidence based on internal structure. Phase three was a qualitative phase that utilized 6 persons and examined for validity evidence based on response processes. The fourth phase was a quantitative phase that established validity evidence based on internal structure and reliability evidence with Cronbach’s alpha.

Exploratory factor analysis was used on data gathered from 300 participants. Six factors were generated, with the first construct (Problem-Solving Confidence) loading strongly on the first and second factors; the second construct (Approach-Avoidance Style) loading on the fourth, fifth and sixth factors, and the third construct (Personal Control) loading strongly on the third factor. Cronbach’s alpha was used to determine reliability evidence on the instrument; α = .849. Reliability for each of the three constructs was examined using Cronbach’s alpha: .845 for Problem-Solving Confidence (10 items), .789 for Approach-Avoidance Style (10 items), and .729 for Personal Control (5 items).

The instrument created in this study, the Paradoxical Problem-Solving Inventory, was developed to have organizations look at an alternative method instead of the traditional ADRs used. The instrument can provide human resource practitioners and researchers the tool that is necessary when managing organizational conflict, and the opportunity to transcend from problems into a learning-oriented approach.





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