Skip to main content

The Effects of Conflict Types, Dimensions, and Emergent States on Group Outcomes

Abstract

In this study, we examine three types of conflict (task, relationship, and process) and four dimensions of conflict (emotions, norms, resolution efficacy, and importance) in decision making groups. We also investigate emergent states (e.g., trust, respect, cohesiveness; Marks et al. 2001; Acad Manag Rev 26: 530–547) as mediating the effects of the conflict types and dimensions on group outcomes (productivity and viability). All three types of conflict decreased positive emergent states in groups and this led to a decrease in group viability (the ability of a team to retain its members through their satisfaction and willingness to continue working together; Balkundi and Harrison 2006; Acad Manag J 49: 49–68). This effect was alleviated by resolution efficacy (the belief that the conflict can be easily resolved) regarding process conflict, but could be exacerbated by any negative emotion associated with relationship conflict. Norms that encouraged task conflict also increased positive emergent states within groups, which marginally and positively influenced group performance.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Aiken L and West S (1991). Multiple regression: testing and interpreting interactions. Sage, Newbury Park, CA

    Google Scholar 

  2. Amason A (1996). Distinguishing effects of functional and dysfunctional conflict on strategic decision making: resolving a paradox for top management teams. Acad Manag J 39: 123–148

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Amason AC and Schweiger DM (1994). Resolving the paradox of conflict, strategic decision making and organizational performance. Inter J Confl Manag 5: 239–253

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Argyris C (1962). Interpersonal competence and organizational effectiveness. Dorsey Press, Homewood, IL

    Google Scholar 

  5. Balkundi P and Harrison DA (2006). Ties, leaders and time in teams: Strong inference about network structure’s effects on team viability and performance. Acad Manag J 49: 49–68

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bandura A (1986). The explanatory and predictive scope of self-efficacy theory. J Soc Clin Psychol 4(3): 359–373

    Google Scholar 

  7. Barki H and Hartwick J (2004). Conceptualizing the construct of interpersonal conflict. Int J Confl Manag 15(3): 216–244

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Baron RA (1991). Positive effects of conflict: A cognitive perspective. Empl Responsib Rights J 4: 25–36

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Baron RM and Kenny DA (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic and statistical considerations. J Pers Soc Psychol 51: 1173–1182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Barrick M, Stewart G, Neubert MJ and Mount M (1998). Relating member ability and personality to work-team processes and team effectiveness. J Appl Psychol 83: 377–391

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Barsade SG (2002). The ripple effect: emotional contagion and its influence on group behavior. Adm Sci Q 47(4): 644–675

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Behfar KJ, Mannix EA, Peterson RS, Trochim WMK (2002) A multi-faceted approach to intragroup conflict issues of theory and measurement. In Annual Conference of the International Association for Conflict Management, Salt Lake City, Utah

  13. Bercovitch J and Langley J (1993). The nature of the dispute and the effectiveness of international mediation. J Confl Resolut 37: 670–691

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Bies RJ (1987). The predicament of injustice: The management of moral outrage. Res Organ Behav 9: 289–319

    Google Scholar 

  15. Brett J (1984). Managing organizational conflict. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 15: 644–678

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Brief AP and Weiss HM (2002). Organizational behavior and affect in the workplace. Annu Rev Psychol 53(1): 279–307

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Brown LD (1983). Managing conflict at organizational interfaces. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA

    Google Scholar 

  18. Carnevale PJ and Probst TM (1998). Social values and social conflict in creative problem solving and categorization. J Pers Soc Psychol 74(5): 1300–1309

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Child D (2006). The essentials of factor analysis, 3rd edn. Continuum International Publishing, New York

    Google Scholar 

  20. Cohen J and Cohen P (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences, 2nd edn. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ

    Google Scholar 

  21. Coser L (1965). The functions of social conflict. Free Press, Glencoe, IL

    Google Scholar 

  22. Costa AC (2003). Work team trust and effectiveness. Pers Rev 32: 605–622

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Costa AC, Roe RA and Taillieu T (2001). Trust within teams: the relation with performance effectiveness. European J Work Organ Psychol 10: 225–244

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Cronin MA and Weingart LR (2006). The differential effects of trust and respect on team conflict. In: Thompson, L and Behfar, KJ (eds) Conflict in Teams, pp 1–38. Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL

    Google Scholar 

  25. De Cremer D (2002). Respect and cooperation in social dilemmas: The importance of feeling included. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 28: 1335–1341

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. De Cremer D (2003). Non-economic motives predicting cooperation in public good dilemmas: The effect of received respect on contributions. Soc Justice Res 16: 367–377

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. De Dreu CKW (2006). When too little or too much hurts: Evidence for a curvilinear relationship between task conflict and innovation in teams. J Manag 32: 83–107

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. De Dreu CKW and Van Vianen AEM (2001). Managing relationship conflict and the effectiveness of organizational teams. J Organ Behav 22(3): 309–328

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. De Dreu CKW and Weingart LR (2003). Task versus relationship conflict, team performance and team member satisfaction: A meta-analysis. J Appl Psychol 88(4): 741–749

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Ensley MD, Pearson AW and Amason AC (2002). Understanding the dynamics of new venture top management teams: Cohesion, conflict, and new venture performance. J Bus Ventur 17(4): 365–386

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Evan W (1965). Conflict and performance in R & D organizations. Ind Manag Rev 7: 37–46

    Google Scholar 

  32. Fisher R and Ury W (1981). Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA

    Google Scholar 

  33. Gayle BM and Preiss RW (1998). Assessing emotionality in organizational conflicts. Manag Commun Q 12: 280–302

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Greer L, Jehn KA (2007) The pivotal role of negative affect in process conflict. In: Neale M, Mannix E, Anderson C (eds) Research on managing groups and teams. JAI Press, Greenwich, CT (in press)

  35. Guilford JP (1966). Intelligence: 1965 model. Am Psychol 21: 20–26

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Guilford JP (1988). Some changes in the structure-of-intellect model. Edu Psychol Meas 48: 1–4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Hackman JR (1987). The design of work teams. In: Lorsch, J (eds) Handbook of organizational behavior, pp 315–342. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

    Google Scholar 

  38. Hackman JR and Wageman R (2005). A theory of team coaching. Acad Manag Rev 30: 269–287

    Google Scholar 

  39. Hinds PJ and Bailey DE (2003). Out of sight, out of sync: Understanding conflict in distributed teams. Organ Sci 14: 615–632

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Hoepfner R, Guilford JP (1965) Figural, symbolic, and semantic factors of creative thinking in ninth-grade students. Psychological Laboratory, Report No. 35, University of Southern California.

  41. Jehn KA (1994). Enhancing effectiveness: An investigation of advantages and disadvantages of value-based intragroup conflict. Int J Confl Manag 5(3): 223–238

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Jehn KA (1995). A multimethod examination of the benefits and detriments of intragroup conflict. Adm Sci Q 40: 256–282

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Jehn KA (1997). A qualitative analysis of conflict types and dimensions in organizational groups. Adm Sci Q 42: 530–557

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Jehn KA and Bendersky C (2003). Intragroup conflict in organizations: A contingency perspective on the conflict-outcome relationship. Res Organ Behav 25: 189–244

    Google Scholar 

  45. Jehn KA and Mannix E (2001). The dynamic nature of conflict: A longitudinal study of intragroup conflict and group performance. Acad Manag J 44: 238–251

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Jehn KA, Northcraft G and Neale M (1999). Why differences make a difference: A field study of diversity, conflict, and performance in workgroups. Adm Sci Q 44: 741–463

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Judd CM and Kenny DA (1981). Estimating the effects of social interventions. Cambridge University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  48. Judge TA, Scott BA and Ilies R (2006). Hostility, job attitudes, and workplace deviance: Test of a multilevel model. J Appl Psychol 91: 126–138

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Kabanoff B (1991). Equity, equality, power and conflict. Acad Manag Rev 16: 416–441

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Kanawattanachia P and Yoo Y (2002). Dynamic nature of trust in virtual teams. J Strateg Inf Sys 11: 187–213

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Kelly JR and Barsade SG (2001). Mood and emotions in small groups and work teams. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 86(1): 99–130

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Kelley HH and Thibaut J (1969). Group problem solving. In: Lindzey, G and Aronson, E (eds) The handbook of social psychology, 2nd Edn, vol 4, pp 1–101. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA

    Google Scholar 

  53. Kenny DA, Kashy DA and Bolger N (1998). Data analysis in social psychology. In: Filbert, DT, Fiske, ST, and Lindzey, G (eds) The handbook of social psychology, 4th edn, vol 1, pp 233–265. McGraw Hill, Boston, MA,

    Google Scholar 

  54. Kirkman BL, Rosen B, Tesluk PE and Gibson CB (2004). The impact of team empowerment on virtual team performance: The moderating role of face-to-face interaction. Acad Manag J 47: 175–192

    Google Scholar 

  55. Klein KJ and Kozlowski SW (2000). From micro to meso: Critical steps in conceptualizing and conducting multilevel research. Organ Res Method 3: 211–236

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Klimoski RJ and Karol BL (1976). The impact of trust on creative problem solving groups. J Appl Psychol 61: 630–633

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Labianca G and Brass DJ (2006). Exploring the social ledger: Negative relationships and negative asymmetry in social networks in organizations. Acad Manag Rev 31: 596–614

    Google Scholar 

  58. Langfred C (2007) The downside of self-management: A longitudinal study of the effects of conflict on trust, autonomy, and task interdependence in self-managing teams. Acad Manag J 50(4):885–900

    Google Scholar 

  59. Lewicki RJ, Weiss SE and Lewin D (1992). Models of conflict, negotiation and 3rd party intervention: A review and synthesis. J Organ Behav 13(3): 209–252

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. MacKinnon DP, Krull JL and Lockwood CM (2000). Equivalence of the mediation, confounding, and suppression effect. Prev Sci 1(4): 173–181

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Mannix E (2003). Editor’s comments: Conflict and conflict resolution—a return to theorizing. Acad Manag Rev 28: 543–546

    Google Scholar 

  62. Mannix E and Jehn KA (2004). Let’s norm and storm, but not right now: Integrating models of group development and performance. In: Neale, M, Mannix, E and Blount, S (eds) Research on managing groups and teams, vol 6, pp 11–37. JAI Press, Greenwich, CT

    Google Scholar 

  63. Marks M, Mathieu J and Zaccaro S (2001). A temporally-based framework and taxonomy of team processes. Acad Manag Rev 26: 530–547

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Mathieu JE, Gilson LL and Ruddy TM (2006). Empowerment and team effectiveness: An empirical test of an integrated model. J Appl Psychol 91: 97–108

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Matsuo M (2006). Customer orientation, conflict and innovativeness in Japanese sales departments. J Bus Res 59: 242–250

    Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Medina FJ, Munduate L, Dorado MA, Martinez I and Guerra JM (2005). Types of intragroup conflict and affective reactions. J Manag Psychol 30: 219–230

    Google Scholar 

  67. Molleman E (2005). Diversity in demographic characteristics, abilities and personality traits: Do faultlines affect team functioning. Group Decis Negot 14: 173–193

    Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Pearson AW, Ensley MD and Amason AC (2002). An assessment and refinement of Jehn’s Intragroup Conflict Scale. Int J Confl Manag 13: 110–126

    Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Peterson DR (1983) Conflict. In: Kelley HH et al (eds) Close relationships. W.H. Freeman, New York, pp 360–396

  70. Pinkley R (1990). Dimensions of the conflict frame: Disputant interpretations of conflict. J Appl Psychol 75: 117–128

    Article  Google Scholar 

  71. Porter TW and Lilly BS (1996). The effects of conflict, trust and task commitment on project team performance. Int J Confl Manag 7: 361–376

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Pruitt D and Rubin J (1986). Social conflict: Escalation, stalemate and settlement. Random House, New York

    Google Scholar 

  73. Rahim MA and Magner NR (1995). Confirmatory factor analysis of the styles of handling interpersonal conflict: First-order factor model and its invariance across groups. J Appl Psychol 80: 122–132

    Article  Google Scholar 

  74. Rapoport A (1960). Fights, games and debates. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor

    Google Scholar 

  75. Ross R (1989). Conflict. In: Ross, R and Ross, J (eds) Small groups in organizational settings, pp 139–178. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

    Google Scholar 

  76. Schwenk C and Cosier R (1993). Effects of consensus and devil’s advocacy on strategic decision making. J Appl Soc Psychol 23: 126–139

    Article  Google Scholar 

  77. Simon B and Stürmer S (2003). Respect for group members: Intragroup determinants of collective identification and groupserving behavior. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 29: 183–193

    Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Polzer JT, Seyle DC, Ko SJ and Swann WB (2004). Finding value in diversity: Verification of personal and social self-views in diverse groups. Acad Manag Rev 29: 9–27

    Article  Google Scholar 

  79. Taylor SE (1991). Asymmetrical effects of positive and negative events: The mobilization-minimization hypothesis. Psychol Bull 110: 67–85

    Article  Google Scholar 

  80. Thomas KW (1979). Organizational conflict. In: Kerr, S (eds) Organizational behavior, pp 151–184. Grid Publishing, Columbus, OH

    Google Scholar 

  81. Thomas KW (1992). Conflict and negotiations in organizations. In: Dunnette, M and Hough, L (eds) Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, pp 651–718. Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, CA,

    Google Scholar 

  82. Thompson B (2004). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC

    Book  Google Scholar 

  83. Tjosvold D (1991). Rights and responsibilities of dissent: Cooperative conflict. Empl Responsib Rights J 4: 13–23

    Article  Google Scholar 

  84. Vodosek M (2005) Cultural diversity, intragroup conflict, and group outcomes. Acad Manag Proceed, Honolulu, HI

  85. Weingart L (1992). Impact of group goals, task component complexity, effort and planning on group performance. J Appl Psychol 77: 682–693

    Article  Google Scholar 

  86. Weingart L and Jehn K (2000). Managing intra-team conflict through collaboration. In: Locke, E (eds) Handbook of principles of organization behavior, pp 226–238. Blackwell Press, Oxford, UK

    Google Scholar 

  87. Weldon E, Jehn KA and Pradhan P (1991). Processes that mediate the relationship between a group goal and improved group performance. J Pers Soc Psychol 61: 555–569

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Karen A. Jehn.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Jehn, K.A., Greer, L., Levine, S. et al. The Effects of Conflict Types, Dimensions, and Emergent States on Group Outcomes. Group Decis Negot 17, 465–495 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10726-008-9107-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Conflict types
  • Conflict dimensions
  • Team viability
  • Group performance
  • Emergent states