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Do friends perform better than acquaintances? the interaction of friendship, conflict, and task

Abstract

This article examines the influence of friendships among group members, intragroup conflict, and task on group performance. Previous research has found that friendships among group members (operationalized as group affinity, comraderie, or cohesion) has both positive and negative effects on performance. The effect of friendship on performance is contingent on many factors. The focus of this article is on the different types of conflict experienced by groups and on the type of task that the group is performing. The results indicate different interaction patterns and degrees of conflict (emotional, task content, and administrative conflict) in friend (strong relationship) groups and acquaintance (weak relationship) groups. Overall, the findings suggest that friend groups perform significantly better than acquaintance groups on both decision-making and motor tasks. Process data from transcripts of group discussions also suggest several mediating factors that may account for these performance differences.

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Shah, P.P., Jehn, K.A. Do friends perform better than acquaintances? the interaction of friendship, conflict, and task. Group Decis Negot 2, 149–165 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01884769

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Key words

  • groups
  • friendship
  • conflict
  • task
  • performance