The Fourth Dimension: Status Conflict in Groups

45 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2008

See all articles by Corinne Bendersky

Corinne Bendersky

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Human Resources & Organizational Behavior (HROB) Area

Nicholas Hays

Michigan State University

Date Written: November 9, 2008

Abstract

We argue that Jehn's (1995; 1997) conflict trichotomy of task, relationship and process conflict missed a fourth fundamental type of group conflict, that which occurs over relative status positions. Using mixed methods with two samples of MBA student teams, we identify and determine the impact of status conflicts in task groups. We first qualitatively identify the characteristics of status conflicts when they occur independently or with a conflict that is ostensibly over tasks, relationships or processes. We next validate a three-item survey scale that distinctly measures status conflict. Finally, we determine that including status conflict along with task and relationship conflict in analyzes of group performance and team member satisfaction both increases the explanatory power of the models and exerts a significant, negative main effect. Thus, some of the ambiguity in research on the effects of group conflict on performance may be resolved by recognizing status conflicts. In addition, emerging research on status contests will benefit from cohering around a single definition and measurement scale.

Suggested Citation

Bendersky, Corinne and Hays, Nicholas, The Fourth Dimension: Status Conflict in Groups (November 9, 2008). IACM 21st Annual Conference Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1298494 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1298494

Corinne Bendersky (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Human Resources & Organizational Behavior (HROB) Area ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

Nicholas Hays

Michigan State University ( email )

632 Bogue St.
East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

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