Managing Co-Occurring Conflicts in Teams

Group Decision and Negotiation, Vol. 24, No. 5, September 8, 2015

Darden Business School Working Paper No. 2668218

Posted: 3 Oct 2015

See all articles by Ray Friedman

Ray Friedman

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior

Kristin Behfar

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Jeanne M. Brett

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

Date Written: September 2015

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

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Raymond A. and Behfar, Kristin and Brett, Jeanne M., Managing Co-Occurring Conflicts in Teams (September 2015). Group Decision and Negotiation, Vol. 24, No. 5, September 8, 2015; Darden Business School Working Paper No. 2668218. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2668218

Raymond A. Friedman (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior ( email )

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
615-322-3992 (Phone)
615-343-7177 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://mba.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/rfriedman.cfm

Kristin Behfar

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Jeanne M. Brett

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-8075 (Phone)
847-491-8896 (Fax)

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