Advertisement

Group Decision and Negotiation

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 501–536 | Cite as

Managing Co-occurring Conflicts in Teams

  • Kristin Behfar
  • Ray Friedman
  • Jeanne Brett
Article

Abstract

This study extends prior research on conflict in teams by showing that a team’s chances of appropriately managing one type of conflict depends on what other types of conflicts are co-occurring. We interviewed 44 managers from different industries who had recently participated in a negotiating team, asking about within-team conflicts and how those conflicts were managed. The data showed that task conflict increased the likelihood that teams managed co-occurring procedural conflicts appropriately, but that procedural conflicts decreased the likelihood that teams managed co-occurring task conflicts appropriately. These results explain why some teams fail to realize the theorized benefits of task conflict and why procedural conflict does not always have a deleterious impact on team performance: The co-occurrence of these different types of conflict can alter what strategy a team uses to manage conflicts.

Keywords

Conflict management Negotiating teams Team conflict Team process 

References

  1. Amason A (1996) Distinguishing the effects of functional and dysfunctional conflict on strategic decision making: Resolving a paradox for top management teams. Academy of Management Journal 39(1):123–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Amason A, Sapienza H (1997) The effects of top management team size and interaction norms on cognitive and affective conflict. Journal of Management 23(4):496–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ancona D (1990) Outward bound: Strategies for team survival in an organization. Academy of Management Journal 33(2):334–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ancona D, Bresman H (2005) Begging, borrowing, and stealing from the outside to create innovation inside teams. In: Thompson L, Choi H-S (eds) Creativity and innovation in organizational teams. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Evanston, ILGoogle Scholar
  5. Ancona D, Chong C (1999) Cycles and synchrony: The temporal role of context in team behavior. In: Mannix E, Neale M, Wageman R (eds) Research on managing groups and teams, vol 2. JAI Press, Stamford, CT, pp 33–48Google Scholar
  6. Ancona D, Okhuysen G, Perlow L (2001) Taking time to integrate temporal research. Academy of Management Review 26(4):512–529Google Scholar
  7. Arrow H, McGrath J, Berdahl J (2000) Small groups as complex systems: Formation, coordination, development, and adaptation. Sage Publications Inc, Thousand Oaks, CAGoogle Scholar
  8. Bartunek J, Kolb D, Lewicki R (1992) Bringing conflict out from behind the scenes: Private, informal, and nonrational dimensions of conflict in organizations. In: Kolb D, Bartunek J (eds) Hidden conflict in organizations: Uncovering behind-the-scenes disputes. Sage Publications, Newbury Park, pp 209–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Behfar K, Peterson R, Mannix E, Trochim W (2008) The critical role of conflict resolution in teams: A close look at the links between conflict type, conflict management strategies, and team outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology 93(1):170–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Behfar K, Mannix E, Peterson R, Trochim W (2011) Conflict in small groups: The meaning and consequences of process conflict. Small Group Research 42(2):127–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bendersky C, Bear J, Behfar K, Weingart L, Todorova G, Jehn K (2014) Identifying gaps between the conceptualization of conflict and its measurement. In: Ashkanasy N, Ayoko O, Jehn K (eds) Handbook of research in conflict management. Edward Edgar Publishing, United Kingdom, pp 79–89Google Scholar
  12. Bendersky C, Hays N (2012) Status conflict in groups. Organization Science 23(2):323–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Benne K, Sheats P (1948) Functional roles of group members. The Journal of Social Issues 4(2):41–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Blount S, Janicik G (2002) Getting and staying in pace: The in-synch preference and its implications for work groups. In: Neale M, Mannix E, Sondak H (eds) Research on managing groups and teams, vol 4. JAI Press, Stamford, CT, pp 235–266Google Scholar
  15. Brett J (1991) Negotiating group decisions. Negotiation Journal 7(3):291–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Brett J (2007) Negotiating globally: How to negotiate deals, resolve disputes, and make decisions across cultural boundaries, 2nd edn. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  17. Brett J, Behfar K, Sanchez-Burks J (2014) Managing cross-cultural conflicts: A close look at the implication of direct versus indirect confrontation. In: Ashkanasy N, Ayoko O, Jehn K (eds) Handbook of research in conflict management. Edward Edgar Publishing, United Kingdom, pp 136–154Google Scholar
  18. Brodt S, Tuchinsky M (2000) Working together but in opposition: An examination of the ‘good-cop/bad-cop’ negotiation team tactic. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 81(2):155–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cartwright D, Zander A (eds) (1968) Group dynamics: Research and theory, 3rd edn. Harper & Row, Publishers, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Cronin M, Weingart L, Todorova G (2011) Dynamics in groups: Are we there yet? The Academy of Management Annals 5(1):571–612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. De Dreu C (1997) Productive conflict: The importance of conflict management and conflict issues. In: De Dreu C, Van de Vliert E (eds) Using conflict in organizations. Sage, London, pp 9–22Google Scholar
  22. De Dreu C, Weingart L (2003) Task versus relationship conflict, team performance, and team member satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology 88(4):741–749CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. de Wit F, Greer L, Jehn K (2012) The paradox of intragroup conflict: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology 97(2):360–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. DeChurch L, Marks M (2001) Maximizing the benefits of task conflict: The role of conflict management. The International Journal of Conflict Management 12(1):4–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. DeChurch L, Hamilton K, Haas C (2007) Effects of conflict management strategies on perceptions of intragroup conflict. Group Dynamics: Theory Research and Practice 11(1):66–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. DeChurch L, Mesmer-Magnus J, Doty D (2013) Moving beyond relationship and task conflict: Toward a process-state perspective. Journal of Applied Psychology 98(4):559–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. DeSanctis G, Poole M (1994) Capturing the complexity in advanced technology use: Adaptive structuration theory. Organization Science 5(2):121–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Druckman D, Zechmeister K (1973) Conflict of interest and value dissensus: Propositions in the sociology of conflict. Human Relations 26(4):449–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Earley P, Gibson C (2002) Multinational work teams: A new perspective. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, Mahwah, NJGoogle Scholar
  30. Finholt T, Sproull L (1990) Electronic groups at work. Organization Science 1(1):41–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fisher R, Ury W, Patton B (1991) Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in. Penguin Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. French J, Raven B (1954) The bases of social power. In: Cartwright D, Zander A (eds) Group dynamics: Research and theory. Harper & Row, New York, pp 259–269Google Scholar
  33. Friedman R (1994) Front stage, backstage: The dramatic structure of labor negotiations. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  34. Friedman R, Podolny J (1992) Differentiation of boundary spanning roles: Labor negotiations and implications for role conflict. Administrative Science Quarterly 37(1):28–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Greer L, Jehn K, Mannix E (2008) Conflict transformation: A longitudinal investigation of the relationships between different types of intragroup conflict and the moderating role of conflict resolution. Small Group Research 39(3):278–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Greer L, Jehn K (2007) The pivitol role of negative affect in understanding the effects of process conflict on group performance. In: Mannix E, Neal M, Anderson C (eds) Research on managing groups and teams, vol 10. Elsevier Science Press, Oxford, UK, pp 23–45Google Scholar
  37. Greer L, van Kleef G (2010) Equality versus differentiation: The effects of power dispersion on group interaction. Journal of Applied Psychology 95(6):1032–1044CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Griffith T (2011) Technology and teams: The next ten years. In: Neale M, Mannix E (eds) Looking back, moving forward: A review of group and team-based research, vol 15. Emerald Publishing Group, United Kingdom, pp 245–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Guetzkow H, Gyr J (1954) An analysis of conflict in decision-making groups. Human Relations 7(3):367–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Guzzo R, Shea G (1992) Group performance and intergroup relations in organizations. In: Dunnette M, Hough L (eds) Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, vol 3, 2nd edn. Consulting Psychologists Press Inc, Palo Alto, CA, pp 269–313Google Scholar
  41. Hackman J (1987) The design of work teams. In: Lorsch J (ed) Handbook of organizational behavior. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, pp 315–342Google Scholar
  42. Hackman J (ed) (1990) Groups that work (and those that don’t): Creating conditions for effective teamwork. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  43. Hackman J, Morris C (1975) Group tasks, group interaction process, and group performance effectiveness: A review and proposed integration. In: Berkowitz L (ed) Advances in experimental social psychology, vol 8. Academic Press, New York, pp 45–99Google Scholar
  44. Hinds P, Bailey D (2003) Out of sight, out of sync: Understanding conflict in distributed teams. Organization Science 14(6):615–632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Hinkin T, Tracey J (1999) An analysis of variance approach to content validation. Organizational Research Methods 2(2):175–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Hirokawa R (1983) Group communication and problem-solving effectiveness: An investigation of group phases. Human Communication Research 9(4):291–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Insko C, Pinkley R, Hoyle R, Dalton B, Hong G, Slim R, Laundry P, Holton B (1987) Individual versus group discontinuity: The role of intergroup contact. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 23:250–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Jackson K, Trochim W (2002) Concept mapping as an alternative approach for the analysis of open-ended survey questions. Organizational Research Methods 5(4):307–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Janicik G, Bartel C (2003) Talking about time: Effects of temporal planning and time awareness norms on group coordination and performance. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice 7(2):122–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Janis I (1972) A psychological study of foreign-policy decisions and fiascoes. Houghton Mifflin Company College Division, BostonGoogle Scholar
  51. Janssen O, Van De Vliert E, Veenstra C (1999) How task and person conflict shape the role of positive interdependence in management teams. Journal of Management 25(2):117–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Janssens M, Brett J (2006) Cultural Intelligence in global teams: A fusion model of collaboration. Group and Organization Management 31(1):124–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Jehn K (1995) A multimethod examination of the benefits and detriments of intragroup conflict. Administrative Science Quarterly 40(2):256–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Jehn K (1997) A qualitative analysis of conflict types and dimensions in organizational groups. Administrative Science Quarterly 42(3):530–557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Jehn K, Chatman J (2000) The influence of proportional and perceptual conflict composition on team performance. The International Journal of Conflict Management 11(1):56–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Jehn K, Northcraft G, Neale M (1999) Why differences make a difference: A field study of diversity, conflict, and performance in workgroups. Administrative Science Quarterly 44(4):741–763CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Johnson B, Turner L (2003) Data collection strategies in mixed method research. In: Tashakkori A, Teddlie C (eds) Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research. Sage Publications Inc, Thousand Oaks, pp 297–320Google Scholar
  58. Jordan P, Lawrence S, Troth A (2006) The impact of negative mood on team performance. Journal of Management and Organization 12(2):131–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Kane M, Trochim W (2007) Concept mapping for planning and evaluation. Sage Publications Inc, Thousand Oaks, CAGoogle Scholar
  60. Kemper E, Stringfield S, Teddlie C (2003) Mixed methods sampling strategies in social science research. In: Tashakkori A, Teddlie C (eds) Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research. Sage Publications Inc, Thousand Oaks, pp 273–296Google Scholar
  61. Korsgaard M, Jeong S, Mahony D, Pitariu A (2008) A multilevel view of intragroup conflict. Journal of Management 34(6):1222–1252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Kurtzberg T, Mueller J (2005) The influence of daily conflict on perceptions of creativity: A longitudinal study. International Journal of Conflict Management 16(4):335–353Google Scholar
  63. Lewicki R, Weiss S, Lewin D (1992) Models of conflict, negotiation, and third party intervention: A review and synthesis. Journal of Organizational Behavior 13:209–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Mathieu J, Rapp T (2009) Laying the foundation for successful team performance trajectories: The roles of team charters and performance strategies. Journal of Applied Psychology 94(1):90–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Matsuo M (2006) Customer orientation, conflict, and innovativeness in Japanese sales departments. Journal of Business Research 59(2):242–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. McDonald J (2009) Handbook of biological statistics, 2nd edn. Sparky House Publishing, Baltimore, MarylandGoogle Scholar
  67. Menon T, Pfeffer J (2003) Valuing internal vs. external knowledge: Explaining the preference for outsiders. Management Science 49(4):497–513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Miles M, Huberman M (1994) Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook, 2nd edn. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CAGoogle Scholar
  69. Mooney A, Holahan P, Amason A (2007) Don’t take it personally: Exploring cognitive conflict as a mediator of affective conflict. Journal of Management Studies 44(5):733–758CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Moreland R, Levine J (1982) Socialization in small groups: Temporal changes in individual-group relations. In: Berkowitz L (ed) Advances in experimental social psychology. Academic Press, New York, pp 137–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Moreland R, Levine J (1992) Problem identification by groups. In: Worchel S, Wood W, Simpson J (eds) Group process and productivity. Sage Publications, Newbury Park, pp 17–47Google Scholar
  72. Nemeth C, Connell J, Rogers J, Brown K (2001) Improving decision making by means of dissent. Journal of Applied Psychology 31(1):48–58Google Scholar
  73. Okhuysen G, Eisenhardt K (2002) Integrating knowledge in groups: How formal interventions enable flexibility. Organization Science 13(4):370–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Passos A, Caetano A (2005) Exploring the effects of intragroup conflict and past performance feedback on team effectiveness. Journal of Managerial Psychology 20(3/4):231–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Picard C (2002) Mediating interpersonal and small group conflict. Golden Dog Press, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  76. Pinkley R, Griffith T, Northcraft G (1995) “Fixed Pie” a la mode: Information availability, information processing, and the negotiation of suboptimal agreements. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 62(1):101–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Polzer J, Mannix E, Neale M (1998) Interest alignment and coalitions in multiparty negotiation. Academy of Management Journal 41(1):42–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Reeve C, Smith CS (2001) Refining Lodahl and Kejner’s job involvement scale with a convergent evidence approach: Applying multiple methods to multiple samples. Organizational Research Methods 4(2):91–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Schaeffner M, Huettermann H, Gebert D, Boerner S, Kearney E, Song LJ (2014) Swim or sink together: The potential of collective team identification and team member alignment for separating task and relationship conflicts. Group & Organization Management. doi: 10.1177/1059601114561059
  80. Schwab D (1980) Construct validity in organizational behavior. Research in Organizational Behavior 2:3–43Google Scholar
  81. Seidler J (1974) On using informants: A technique for collecting quantitative data and controlling measurement error in organization analysis. American Sociological Review 39(6):816–831CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Shell R (2006) Bargaining for advantage: Negotiation strategies for reasonable people, 2nd edn. Penguin, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  83. Simons T, Pelled L, Smith K (1999) Making use of difference: Diversity, debate, and decision comprehensiveness in top management teams. Academy of Management Journal 42(6):662–673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Simons T, Peterson R (2000) Task conflict and relationship conflict in top management teams: The pivotal role of intragroup trust. Journal of Applied Psychology 83(1):102–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Strauss A, Corbin J (1998) Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CAGoogle Scholar
  86. Tekleab A, Quigley N, Tesluk P (2009) A longitudinal study of team conflict, conflict management, cohesion, and team effectiveness. Group & Organization Management 34(2):170–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Tidd S, McIntyre H, Friedman R (2004) The importance of role ambiguity and trust in conflict perception: Unpacking the task conflict to relationship conflict linkage. International Journal of Conflict Management 15(4):364–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Thomas K (1992) Conflict and negotiation processes in organizations. In: Dunnette M, Hough L (eds) Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, vol 3. Consulting Psychologists Press Inc, Palo Alto, CA, pp 651–717Google Scholar
  89. Tjosvold D, Tjosvold M (1994) Cooperation, competition, and constructive controversy. In: Beyerlein M, John D (eds) Advances in interdisciplinary studies of work teams: Theories of self-managing work teams, vol 1. JAI Press, Greenwich, CT, pp 119–144Google Scholar
  90. Weingart L, Brett J, Olekalns M, Smith P (2007) Conflicting social motive in negotiating groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 93(6):994–1010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Weingart L, Prietula M, Hyder E, Genovese C (1999) Knowledge and the sequential processes of negtiation: A Markov chain analysis of response-in-kind. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 35:366–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Yang J, Mossholder K (2004) Decoupling task and relationship conflict: The role of intragroup emotional processing. Journal of Organizational Behavior 25(5):589–605CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Darden School of BusinessUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Owen Graduate School of ManagementVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Kellogg School of ManagementNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Personalised recommendations