Workplace conflict and employee well-being: The moderating role of detachment from work during off-job time

Sabine Sonnentag, Dana Unger, Inga J. Nägel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this study is to address the relation between task and relationship conflicts at work and employee well‐being. It seeks to examine psychological detachment from work during off‐job time as a moderator in the relation between conflicts and well‐being.

Design/methodology/approach – In a field study, 291 white‐collar employees completed survey measures of task conflicts, relationship conflicts, psychological detachment from work during off‐job time, and well‐being. Control variables included workload and job control.

Findings – Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that employees experiencing high levels of task conflicts and high levels of relationship conflicts report poorer well‐being. As predicted, psychological detachment from work mitigated the negative relation between relationship conflicts and well‐being. Contrary to expectations, psychological detachment failed to moderate the relation between task conflicts and well‐being.

Practical implications – The study suggests that employees should be encouraged to disengage mentally from work during leisure time.

Originality/value – This study links research on workplace conflicts with research on recovery processes. It tests the moderator effect of psychological detachment from work on the association between workplace conflicts and well‐being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-183
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2013


  • Task conflicts
  • Relationship conflicts
  • Well‐being
  • Psychological detachment
  • Conflict management
  • Employees
  • Germany

Cite this