Phenomenological analysis of the subordinate's experience of conflict with their manager

Jolanta Sondaitė, Natalija Norvilė


Objectives. The objective of the study was a qualitative assessment of the subordinate's experience of conflict with their manager.
Participants. 16 employees, 24-55 years old participated in the study, 8 of which were business enterprise workers, and 8 – public officers.
Methods. To explore the experience of conflict, standardized interviews were conducted. These were evaluated using qualitative content analysis according to the Eckartsberg (1998) existentialphenomenological research method.
Results. Conflict with the manager is perceived as a crisis, which may be experienced as anxiety, fault, despair, loneliness, sorrow, and a flush of emotions. Employees feel irritated, diminished, unconfident. Among recognised somatic reactions are perspiration, blushing, and change in voice tone. Participants report a perceived dissonance between their expectations and reality. The employees also analyse their behaviour and emotions experienced when facing conflict. Results indicate that conflict with the manager is experienced as a stressful situation, which supposes the need to reduce the incidence of organizational conflict.


manager-subordinate conflict; experience; emotions

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