The Conflict Over Conflict: An Integrative Approach
Posted: 14 Dec 2008
Date Written: November 9, 2008
Debate continues over the value of organizational conflict. Researchers from one tradition emphasize its constructive role in improving performance. Those from a second dispute this and emphasize its destructive effects on outcomes like satisfaction. I argue this divergence primarily reflects narrow theoretical conceptions of conflict by each that are easily reconciled. An integrative model is proposed which describes the transformation of conflict over time and source using Pondy's (1967) stage model and the task versus relationship conflict distinction (Jehn, 1995). Initial empirical support for the model via a natural experiment was strong. The results replicate and integrate past findings of two diverse traditions under a unified conceptual model. The methodology illustrates the use of multilevel analysis in the study of conflict.
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