An Integrated Perspective on Conflict in Work Groups: A Case Study on Conflict Dynamics
Posted: 10 Aug 2011
Date Written: August, 10 2011
Despite initial efforts to investigate conflict in organizations, the relationship between conflict and performance continues to be a contested topic in the literature. This paper investigates the effect of conflict on work group performance. For this purpose, a case study of an international company, in the design and manufacturing of petrochemical products sector, is presented. Using an organizational behavior perspective and a qualitative approach, we examine the amount of conflict in the organization and analyze the impacts of three conflict types - relationship, process, and task conflict - on work group performance. The participants are included in 12 work groups consisting of 12 operators each. The methodology applied includes direct interview techniques and on site non-intrusive observations. Results suggest that the types of conflict determine whether a conflict has positive or negative impacts on group performance. The findings contribute to the body of knowledge of group conflict and broaden the understanding of dynamics of conflict. They also help practitioners in top-level management to understand the different types of conflict and to use opportunely them in order to increase the work group performance.
Keywords: work groups, relationship conflict, task conflict, process conflict, group performance
JEL Classification: J28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation