Conflict Contagion: A Temporal, Multi-Level Perspective on the Spread of Interpersonal Conflicts within Teams
30 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2008
Date Written: 2007
In this paper, we present a theoretical model of the spread of conflict within teams, which we refer to as conflict contagion. This model brings a multi-level perspective to the process of intragroup conflict by showing how the presence of interpersonal conflict can spread to other group members over time. We discuss how this can lead to differing levels of conflict within a group at different points in time. Factors are identified which can either ameliorate or exacerbate the spread of conflict, and the associated degree of involvement of group members over time. Potential outcomes of different degrees of conflict involvement within a group are examined, including subgroup formation and group performance issues. We conclude by discussing the theoretical and practical implications of our model of conflict contagion.
Keywords: Conflict, Teams, Time
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