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Coping Intelligence: Coping Strategies and Organizational Commitment Among Boundary Spanning Employees


In this study, we develop a new theoretical framework of Coping Intelligence (CI) which examines relationships between coping strategies and organizational commitment among boundary spanning employees. We collected data from 452 boundary spanning salespeople using multiple sources. Results demonstrate that a formative model of Coping Intelligence (CI) is superior to a reflective model and that problem-focused coping contributes to CI which, in turn, is related to affective and normative commitment. Further, our more parsimonious formative model illustrates that positive problem-focused coping and negative emotion-focused coping contribute to both affective and normative commitment. After controlling for gender and salespeople’s commission (from company’s personnel record) in separate analyses, results remain significant. We provide additional insights: Females are likely to use emotion-focused coping than males, but gender is not related to organizational commitment. Salespeople’s commission is positively related to both affective and normative commitment but unrelated to coping strategies. We shed new lights on boundary spanning employees’ Coping Intelligence and organizational commitment and offer theoretical, empirical, and practical implications to coping strategies and business ethics.

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  1. 1.

    “Tell them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share”. (1 Timothy 6: 18).

  2. 2.

    “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away”. (Matthew 13: 12).

  3. 3.

    “tempt you through your lack of self-control”. (1 Corinthians 7: 5).

  4. 4.

    “Those who want to get rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils.” (1 Timothy 6: 9-10).


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The authors would like to thank Jeff Sager of University of North Texas for his insightful guidance of this research project and support of data collection.

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Correspondence to Thomas Li-Ping Tang.

Appendix: Coping Strategies

Appendix: Coping Strategies

Problem-focused coping (CI-P)

  1. 1.

    I try to work more efficiently

  2. 2.

    I devote more time and energy to my job

  3. 3.

    Decide what I think should be done and explain this to the people who are affected.

Action-focused (escape, mental disengagement) coping (CI-A)

  1. 4.

    Watch TV

  2. 5.

    Eat snacks

  3. 6.

    I take it out on family or friends by getting angry at them

Emotion-focused coping (CI-E)

  1. 7.

    I hope a miracle will happen

  2. 8.

    I try to forget the whole thing

  3. 9.

    Have fantasies about how things would work out

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Srivastava, R., Tang, T.L. Coping Intelligence: Coping Strategies and Organizational Commitment Among Boundary Spanning Employees. J Bus Ethics 130, 525–542 (2015).

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  • Stress
  • Boundary spanning
  • Coping strategies
  • Problem-focused
  • Action-focused
  • Emotion-focused
  • Coping intelligence
  • Organizational commitment
  • Affective
  • Continuance
  • Normative
  • Gender
  • Sales commission
  • Ethics