This research investigates the moderating effect of social capital on the conflict–innovation relationship and poses the argument that social interaction amplifies the beneficial effect of task conflict and the harmful effect of relationship conflict, whereas trust suppresses these effects. Analyses of a sample of 232 Canadian-based firms demonstrate that at higher levels of social interaction, the positive relationship between task conflict and innovation is stronger, and so is the negative relationship between relationship conflict and innovation. Furthermore, at higher levels of trust, the positive relationship between task conflict and innovation weakens. This study adds to the emerging contingency perspective pertaining to the study of conflict and provides a more nuanced view of the beneficial role of intra-organizational social capital for innovation.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Aiken, K. D., & Boush, D. M. (2006). Trustmarks, objective-source ratings, and implied investments in advertising: Investigating online trust and the context specific nature of internet signals. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 34, 308–323. doi:10.1177/0092070304271004.
Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Amason, A. C. (1996). Distinguishing the effect of functional and dysfunctional conflict on strategic decision making: Resolving a Paradox for top management teams. Academy of Management Journal, 39, 123–148. doi:10.2307/256633. (February).
Amason, A. C., & Sapienza, H. J. (1997). The effects of top management team size and interaction norms on cognitive and affective conflict. Journal of Management, 23(August), 495–516.
Anderson, J. C., & Gerbing, D. W. (1988). Structural equation modeling in practice: A review and recommended two-step approach. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 411–423. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.103.3.411. (May).
Anderson, J. C., & Narus, J. A. (1990). A model of distributor firm and manufacturing firm working relationships. Journal of Marketing, 54(1), 42–58. doi:10.2307/1252172.
Armstrong, J. S., & Overton, T. S. (1977). Estimating nonresponse bias in mail surveys. JMR, Journal of Marketing Research, 16, 396–402. doi:10.2307/3150783. (August).
Atuahene-Gima, K., & Murray, J. Y. (2007). Exploratory and exploitative learning in new product development: A social capital perspective on new technology ventures in China. Journal of International Marketing, 15(2), 1–29.
Ayers, D., Dahlstrom, R., & Skinner, S. J. (1997). An exploratory investigation of organizational antecedents to new product success. JMR, Journal of Marketing Research, 34, 107–116. doi:10.2307/3152068. (February).
Bagozzi, R. P., & Yi, Y. (1988). On the evaluation of structural equation models. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 16, 74–94. doi:10.1007/BF02723327.
Baron, R. S., & Shane, S. (2005).Entrepreneurship: A process prospective. South-Western, Ohio: Thomson.
Baron, R. S., Vandello, J. A., & Brunsman, B. (1996). The forgotten variable in conformity research: Impact of task importance on social influence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 915–927.
Bart, Y. Y., Shankar, V., Sultan, F., & Urban, G. L. (2005). Are the drivers and role of online trust the same for all web sites and consumers? A large-scale exploratory empirical study. Journal of Marketing, 69, 133–152. doi:10.1509/jmkg.2005.69.4.133.
Bergkvist, L., & Rossiter, J. R. (2007). The predictive validity of multiple-item versus single-item measures of the same constructs. JMR, Journal of Marketing Research, 44, 175–184. doi:10.1509/jmkr.44.2.175.
Brockner, J., Siegel, P. A., Daly, J. P., Tyler, T., & Martin, C. (1997). When trust matters: The moderating effect of outcome favorability. Administration Science Quarterly, 42, 558–583.
Bstieler, L. (2006). Trust formation in collaborative new product development. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 23, 56–72. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5885.2005.00181.x.
Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94, 95–120. doi:10.1086/228943. (July).
Creed, W. E., & Miles, R. E. (1996). Trust in organizations: A conceptual framework linking organizational forms, managerial philosophies, and the opportunity costs of control. In R. M. Kramer & T. R. Tyler (Eds.), Trust in organizations: Frontiers of theory and research (pp. 16–39). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
De Dreu, C. K. W. (2006). When too little or too much hurts: Evidence for a curvilinear relationship between conflict and innovation in teams. Journal of Management, 32, 83–108. doi:10.1177/0149206305277795.
De Dreu, C. K. W., & Van Vianen, A. E. M. (2001). Responses to relationship conflict and team effectiveness. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22, 309–328. doi:10.1002/job.71.
De Dreu, C. K. W., & Weingart, L. R. (2003). Task versus relationship conflict, team effectiveness, and team member satisfaction: A meta-analysis. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 741–749. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.88.4.741.
De Dreu, C. K. W., Weingart, L. R., & Kwon, S. (2000). Influence of social motives in integrative negotiation: A meta-analytic review and test of two theories. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 889–905. doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.119.
De Luca, L. M., & Atuahene-Gima, K. (2007). Market knowledge dimensions and cross-functional collaboration: Examining the different routes to product innovation performance. Journal of Marketing, 71, 95–112. doi:10.1509/jmkg.71.1.95. (January).
Dillman, D. A. (1978). Mail and telephone surveys: The total design method. New York: Wiley.
Druckman, D. (1994). Determinants of compromising behavior in negotiation. The Journal of Conflict Resolution, 38, 507–556. doi:10.1177/0022002794038003007.
Dwyer, F. R., Schurr, P. H., & Oh, S. (1987). Developing buyer–seller relationships. Journal of Marketing, 51, 11–27. doi:10.2307/1251126.
Dyer, B., & Song, X. M. (1998). Innovation strategy and sanctioned conflict: A new edge in innovation? Journal of Product Innovation Management, 15, 505–519. doi:10.1016/S0737-6782(98)00032-0. (November).
Eisenhardt, K. M., Bourgeois, L. J., III. (1988). Politics of strategic decision making in high-velocity environments. Academy of Management Journal, 31(4), 737–770. doi:10.2307/256337.
Eisenhardt, K. M., Kahwajy, J. L., Bourgeois, L. J., III. (1997). Conflict and strategic choice: How top management teams disagree. California Management Review, 39(2), 42–62.
Ferrin, D. L., Dirks, K. T., & Shah, P. P. (2006). Direct and indirect effects of third-party relationships on interpersonal trust. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(4), 870–883. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.91.4.870.
Finkelstein, S., & Mooney, A. C. (2003). Not the usual suspects: How to use board process to make boards better. Academy of Management Executive, 17(2), 101–113.
Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. JMR, Journal of Marketing Research, 18, 39–50. doi:10.2307/3151312. (February).
Ganesan, S. (1994). Determinants of long-term orientation in buyer–seller relationships. Journal of Marketing, 58(2), 1–19. doi:10.2307/1252265.
Gerbing, D. W., & Anderson, J. C. (1988). An updated paradigm for scale development incorporating unidimensionality and its assessment. JMR, Journal of Marketing Research, 25(2), 186–192. doi:10.2307/3172650.
Ghoshal, S., & Moran, P. (1996). Bad for practice: A critique of the transaction cost theory. Academy of Management Review, 21, 13–47. doi:10.2307/258627.
Granovetter, M. (1985). Economic action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology, 91, 481–510. doi:10.1086/228311. (November).
Greene, W. (2004). Econometric analysis (5th ed.). New York: Prentice Hall.
Griffin, A., & Hauser, J. R. (1996). Integrating R&D and marketing: A review and analysis of the literature. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 13, 191–215. doi:10.1016/0737-6782(96)00025-2. (May).
Guerra, J. M., Martínez, I., Munduate, L., & Medina, F. (2005). A contingency perspective on the study of the consequences of conflict types: The role of organizational culture. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 14, 157–176. doi:10.1080/13594320444000245.
Harinck, F., De Dreu, C. K. W., & Van Vianen, A. E. M. (2000). The impact of conflict issue on fixed-pie perceptions, problem solving, and integrative outcomes in negotiation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 81, 329–358. doi:10.1006/obhd.1999.2873.
Heide, J. B., & Miner, A. S. (1992). The shadow of the future: Effects of anticipated interaction and frequency of contact on buyer–seller cooperation. Academy of Management Journal, 35, 265–291. doi:10.2307/256374. (June).
Horibe, F. (2001). Creating the innovation culture. New York: Wiley.
Jansen, J. J. P., Van Den Bosch, F. A. J., & Volberda, H. W. (2006). Exploratory innovation, exploitative innovation, and performance: Effects of organizational antecedents and environmental moderators. Management Science, 52, 1661–1674. doi:10.1287/mnsc.1060.0576. (November).
Janis, I. L. (1982). Groupthink. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Jehn, K. A. (1995). A multimethod examination of the benefits and detriments of intragroup conflict. Administrative Science Quarterly, 40, 256–282. doi:10.2307/2393638. (June).
Jehn, K. A., & Bendersky, C. (2003). Intragroup conflict in organizations: A contingency perspective on the conflict–outcome relationship. Research in Organizational Behavior, 25, 89–244.
Jehn, K. A., & Chatman, J. A. (2000). The influence of proportional and perceptual conflict composition on team performance. The International Journal of Conflict Management, 11, 56–73. doi:10.1108/eb022835.
Jehn, K. A., & Mannix, E. A. (2001). The dynamic nature of conflict: A longitudinal study of intragroup conflict and group performance. Academy of Management Journal, 44, 238–251. (April).
Jehn, K. A., Northcraft, G. B., & Neale, M. A. (1999). Why differences make a difference: A field study of diversity, conflict and performance in workgroups. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44, 741–763. (December).
Kahn, K. B. (1996). Interdepartmental integration. A definition with implications for product development performance. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 13, 137–151. doi:10.1016/0737-6782(95)00110-7.
Kelley, T., & Littman, J. (2001). The art of innovation. New York: Doubleday.
Langfred, C. W. (2004). Too much of a good thing? Negative effects of high trust and individual autonomy in self-managing teams. Academy of Management Journal, 47, 385–399.
Langfred, C. W. (2007). The downside of self-management: A longitudinal study of the effects of conflict on trust, autonomy, and task interdependence in self-managing teams. Academy of Management Journal, 50, 885–900.
Larson, A. (1992). Network dyads in entrepreneurial settings: A study of the governance of exchange relationships. Administrative Science Quarterly, 37, 76–104. doi:10.2307/2393534. (March).
Lawrence, P. R., & Lorsch, J. W. (1967). Differentiation and integration in complex organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly, 12, 1–47. doi:10.2307/2391211. (June).
Leana, C. R., van Buren, H. J., III. (1999). Organizational social capital and employment practices. Academy of Management Review, 24, 538–555. doi:10.2307/259141. (July).
Leonard-Barton, D. (1995). Wellsprings of knowledge: Building and sustaining the sources of innovation. Boston: Harvard Business School.
Lewicki, R. J., & Bunker, B. B. (1996). Developing and maintaining trust in work relationships. In R. M. Kramer & T. R. Tyler (Eds.), Trust in organizations: Frontiers of theory and research (pp. 114–139). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Li, T., & Calantone, R. J. (1998). The impact of marketing knowledge competence on new product advantage: Conceptualization and empirical examination. Journal of Marketing, 62, 13–29. doi:10.2307/1252284. (October).
Lovelace, K., Shapiro, D. L., & Weingart, L. R. (2001). Maximizing cross-functional new product teams’ innovativeness and constraints adherence: A conflict communications perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 44, 779–794. doi:10.2307/3069415. (August).
Luo, X., Slotegraaf, R. J., & Pan, X. (2006). Cross-functional ‘Coopetition’: The simultaneous role of cooperation and competition within firms. Journal of Marketing, 70, 67–80. doi:10.1509/jmkg.70.2.67. (April).
Matsuo, M. (2006). Customer orientation, conflict, and innovativeness in Japanese sales departments. Journal of Business Research, 59, 242–250. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2005.06.002.
Mayer, R. C., Davis, J. H., & David Schoorman, F. (1995). An integrative model of organizational trust. Academy of Management Review, 20, 709–734. doi:10.2307/258792. (July).
Moorman, C., Zaltman, G., & Deshpandé, R. (1992). Relationships between providers and users of market research: The dynamics of trust within and between organizations. JMR, Journal of Marketing Research, 29(3), 314–329. doi:10.2307/3172742.
Morgan, R. M., & Hunt, S. D. (1994). The commitment–trust theory of relationship marketing. Journal of Marketing, 58, 20–38. doi:10.2307/1252308. (July).
Nahapiet, J., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital, intellectual capital, and the organizational advantage. Academy of Management Review, 23, 242–268. doi:10.2307/259373. (April).
Pelled, L. H., Eisenhardt, K. M., & Xin, K. R. (1999). Exploring the black box: An analysis of work group diversity, conflict, and performance. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44, 1–28. doi:10.2307/2667029. (March).
Peterson, R. S., & Behfar, K. J. (2003). The dynamic relationship between performance feedback, trust, and conflict in groups: A longitudinal study. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 92, 102–112. doi:10.1016/S0749-5978(03)00090-6.
Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J.-Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 879–903. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.88.5.879. (October).
Pondy, L. R. (1967). Organizational conflict: Concepts and models. Administrative Science Quarterly, 12, 296–320. doi:10.2307/2391553. (September).
Porter, T. W., & Lilly, B. S. (1996). The effects of conflict, trust, and task commitment on project team performance. The International Journal of Conflict Management, 7, 361–376. doi:10.1108/eb022787.
Putnam, R. D. (1993). The prosperous community: Social capital and public life. The American Prospect, 13, 35–42.
Rabe, C. B. (2006). The innovation killer: How what we know limits what we can imagine and what smart companies are doing about it. New York: AMACOM.
Rempel, J. K., Holmes, J. G., & Zanna, M. P. (1985). Trust in close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 95–112. doi:10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.168. (July).
Rispens, S., Greer, L. L., & Jehn, K. A. (2007). It could be worse: A study on the alleviating role of trust and interdependence in intragroup conflict. The International Journal of Conflict Management, 18(4), 325–344. doi:10.1108/10444060710833450.
Ruekert, R. W., & Walker, O. C. Jr. (1987). Marketing’s interaction with other functional units: A conceptual framework and empirical evidence. Journal of Marketing, 51, 1–19. doi:10.2307/1251140. (January).
Schatzel, K., & Calantone, R. (2005). Creating market anticipation: An exploratory model of outcomes related to a firm’s prosperity to preannounce a new product launch. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 34, 357–366. doi:10.1177/0092070304270737.
Sethi, R., Smith, D. C., & Whan Park, C. (2001). Cross-functional product development teams, creativity, and the innovativeness of new consumer products. JMR, Journal of Marketing Research, 38, 73–85. doi:10.1509/jmkr.22.214.171.12433. (February).
Simons, T., & Peterson, R. S. (2000). Task conflict and relationship conflict in top management teams: The pivotal role of intragroup trust. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 102–111. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.85.1.102.
Song, X. M., Dyer, B., & Thieme, R. J. (2006). Conflict management and innovation performance: An integrated contingency perspective. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 34, 341–356. doi:10.1177/0092070306286705. (July).
Song, X. M., & Parry, M. E. (1993). R&D–marketing integration in Japanese high-technology firms: Hypotheses and empirical evidence. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 21(2), 125–133. doi:10.1007/BF02894423.
Teece, D. J., Pisano, G., & Shuen, A. (1997). Dynamic capabilities and strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 18, 509–533. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-0266(199708)18:7<509::AID-SMJ882>3.0.CO;2-Z. (August).
Tsai, W. (2000). Social capital, Strategic relatedness and the formation of intraorganizational linkages. Strategic Management Journal, 21, 925–939. doi:10.1002/1097-0266(200009)21:9<925::AID-SMJ129>3.0.CO;2-I.
Tsai, W., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital and value creation: The role of intrafirm networks. Academy of Management Journal, 41, 464–476. (August).
Uzzi, B. (1997). Social structure and competition in interfirm networks: The Paradox of embeddedness. Administrative Science Quarterly, 42, 35–67. doi:10.2307/2393808. (March).
Uzzi, B., & Lancaster, R. (2003). Relational embeddedness and learning: The case of bank loan managers and their clients. Management Science, 49, 383–399. (April).
Van de Vliert, E., Nauta, A., Giebels, E., & Janssen, O. (1999). Constructive conflict at work. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20(4), 475–491. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1379(199907)20:4<475::AID-JOB897>3.0.CO;2-G.
Van Dyne, L., & Saavedra, R. (1996). A naturalistic minority influence experiment: Effects on divergent thinking, conflict and originality in work-groups. The British Journal of Social Psychology, 35(1), 151–168.
Walker, G., Kogut, B., & Shan, W. (1997). Social capital, structural holes and the formation of an industry network. Organization Science, 8, 109–126. (March).
Wicks, A. C., Berman, S. L., & Jones, T. M. (1999). The structure of optimal trust: Moral and strategic implications. Academy of Management Review, 24, 99–116. doi:10.2307/259039. (January).
Williamson, O. E. (1993). Calculativeness, trust, and economic organization. The Journal of Law & Economics, 36, 453–486. doi:10.1086/467284.
Yli-Renko, H., Autio, E., & Sapienza, H. J. (2001). Social capital, knowledge acquisition and knowledge exploitation in young technology-based firms. Strategic Management Journal, 22, 587–614. doi:10.1002/smj.183. (June–July).
Zaheer, A., McEvily, B., & Perrone, V. (1998). Does trust matter? exploring the effects of interorganizational and interpersonal trust on performance. Organization Science, 9, 141–159. (March).
The authors are grateful for the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
About this article
Cite this article
De Clercq, D., Thongpapanl, N. & Dimov, D. When good conflict gets better and bad conflict becomes worse: the role of social capital in the conflict–innovation relationship. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 37, 283–297 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-008-0122-0
- Social capital
- Cross-functional collaboration