Demand/withdraw patterns in organizations.


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The purpose of this study is to examine and investigate if demand/withdraw patterns occur in organizations, filling a gap in the literature exploring demand/withdraw outside of interpersonal relationships. Demand/withdraw is a pattern of communication in which one person makes a demand, complains, or nags, and the other relational partner avoids certain conversation(s) by withdrawing and becoming defensive. To date, studies examining demand/withdraw are housed within the interpersonal communication body of literature, but this study seeks to examine whether this pattern also occurs within organizations. Using a grounded theory approach, this thesis explores the phenomenon of demand/withdraw through qualitative interviews. The results of this study support that demand/withdraw patterns occur in the supervisor/subordinate relationship, as well as the coworker relationship, and all demand/withdraw patterns result in generally negative outcomes for the respective individuals. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed.