Contextual Effects on Complementarity of the Agency Dimension on the Interpersonal Circumplex Model
I examined how different situations (unstructured, competitive task-oriented, and noncompetitive task-oriented) affected the degree of complementarity on the agency dimension on the interpersonal circumplex model. Complementarity as defined by Carson (1969) is when one behavior invites a response behavior that matches in affiliation and is opposite in agency. For example, when individual A acts in a friendly and dominant manner towards individual B by offering a suggestion for how to begin their class project, individual B responds in a friendly and submissive manner by agreeing to individual A's suggestion. Complementary interactions have been found to produce satisfying and efficient relationships in a wide variety of contexts. However, mixed results have been found for complementarity on the agency dimension of the interpersonal circumplex model. Returning to individuals A and B, B could respond to A in a friendly but dominant manner by agreeing with A's suggestion but offering B's own idea for the class project. Research has shown that agentic behaviors are usually utilized in task-oriented situations (Moskowitz, Ho, & Turcotte-Tremblay, 2007). Previously designed task-oriented situations consist of dyads working together on a task (Estroff & Nowicki, 1992). By exposing female participants of complementary interpersonal styles to three situations, this study aimed to explore the notion that the previous mixed results may be partially due to an overgeneralizing of the task-oriented situation. This proposed study exposed participants to a competitive task-oriented situation as well as a non-competitive task-oriented situation, and it was predicted that the non-competitive task-oriented situation would create the greatest degree of complementarity on the agency dimension and the competitive task-oriented situation would create the lowest degree of complementarity.
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