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Heleen van Mierlo October 24, 2011 Erasmus University Rotterdam Conflict in Teams.

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Presentation on theme: "Heleen van Mierlo October 24, 2011 Erasmus University Rotterdam Conflict in Teams."— Presentation transcript:

1 Heleen van Mierlo October 24, 2011 Erasmus University Rotterdam Conflict in Teams

2 Van Mierlo Unhealthy & Undesirable For example :  Conflict induces stress, burnout, absenteism and turnover  30% of work related psychological complaints is attributable to work conflicts  – conflict-related incidences of absenteism are registrated each year.

3 Van Mierlo “Conflict and common sense yield creativity” (Michael Eisner, CEO Walt Disney Company ) “The absence of conflict is not harmony, it’s apathy” “How management teams can have a good fight” (Eisenthardt, Kahwajy, & Bourgeois, 1997) “Team Conflict? As Long as It’s Not Personal, Run With It” “I’m leery of happy teams” (http://artpetty.com/2010/07/21/team-conflict-as-long-as-it’s-not-personal- run-with-it/) Valuable & Necessary For example:

4 Van Mierlo Opportunity Danger The 2 faces of conflict Wei Ji: Danger & Opportunity Ji Wei

5 Van Mierlo Overview  Conflict: introduction  Different approaches  The facts: meta-analysis  A closer look at the outcomes  Conclusions

6 Van Mierlo Introduction definition  A situation in which 2 or more parties have goals, interests, values, or ideas that are incompatible. (Prein)  Two individuals, an individual and a group, or two groups are in conflict if at least one party feels the other party frustrates or annoys them. (Van der Vliert)  Conflict is actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests. (Wikipedia)

7 Van Mierlo Introduction Sources of conflict at work Information-exchange; miscommunication;...  Structure Functional specialization; ambiguity; leadership; rewards; interdependence; restructuring;...  Personal factors Norms & values; personal preferences; power imbalance;...  Communication

8 Van Mierlo conflict perspectives (De Dreu & Weingart, 2003)  Traditional perspective  Information processing perspective  Task versus relationship conflict

9 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Traditional perspective Strong negative correlation between conflict and team performance Conflict Performance

10 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Information processing E.g.,. Carnevale & Probst (1998, JPSP)

11 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Information processing Conflict Performance Formally: Curvilinear relationship between conflict and performance

12 Van Mierlo On the side: regression analysis Linear: Y = a + bX + e Conflict perspectives Information processing X Y a X Y b

13 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Information processing On the side: regression analysis Curvilinear: Y = a + bX + cX 2 + e X Y X Y X Y X Y

14 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Information processing Conflict Performance Linear representation: Weak negative correlation between conflict and performance Formally: Curvilinear relationship between conflict and performance

15 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Task / relationship conflict 2 types of conflict:  Task: task content  Relationship: personal issues Effectiveness = satisfaction & performance Sometimes 3rd type: process conflict (Jehn et al., 1999) disagreements about logistics of task accomplishment, e.g., delegation of task & responsibilities.

16 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Task / relationship conflict Relationship conflict “So, and at that time, Tina sat over here, and that’s when we first had problems, because her radio was too loud and she was a bitch. […], we never will get along.” (Jehn, 1995)

17 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Task / relationship conflict Task conflict “We are not afraid to express ourselves and our different opinions on the subject [decisions about projects]. We sit down and talk about it. […], and we can openly express ourselves and fight about any type of situation …” (Jehn, 1995)

18 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Task / relationship conflict Relationship conflict (alpha =.92)  How much friction is there among members of your work unit?  How much are personality conflicts evident in your work unit?  How much tension is there among members in your work unit?  How much emotional conflict is there among members in your work unit? (Jehn, 1995)

19 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Task / relationship conflict Task conflict (alpha =.87)  How often do people in your work unit disagree about opinions regarding the work being done?  How frequently are there conflicts about ideas in your work unit?  How much conflict about the work you do is there in your work unit?  To what extent are there differences of opinion in your work unit? (Jehn, 1995)

20 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Task / relationship conflict Propositions:  Relationship conflict: Negative correlation with satisfaction and performance (e.g., ego threat, hostility, reduced cooperation)  Task conflict: Negative correlation with satisfaction (e.g., self-verification theory – Swan, Polzer, Seyle, & Ko, 2004 )

21 Van Mierlo  Task conflict & performance: task type as moderator Conflict perspectives Task / relationship conflict Non-routine tasks: curvilinear relationship with performance low conflict» low performance high conflict» high performance very high conflict» moderate performance (Amason, 1996; Jehn, 1995; 1997)

22 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Task / relationship conflict Non-routine tasks: curvilinear relationship with performance Task conflict Performance ConflictPerformance low » low high » high very high » moderate

23 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Task / relationship conflict Routine tasks: curvilinear relationship with performance low conflict » moderate performance moderate conflict » high performance high conflict » low performance (Amason, 1996; Jehn, 1995; 1997)  Task conflict & performance: task type as moderator

24 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Task / relationship conflict Task conflict Performance ConflictPerformance low » moderate moderate » high high » low Routine tasks: curvilinear relationship with performance

25 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Summary Relationship conflict All 3 perspectives Performance

26 Van Mierlo Conflict perspectives Summary Traditional TC / RC, routine tasks = information processing TC / RC, non-routine task

27 Van Mierlo Performance Conflict perspectives Summary (linear) Task conflict

28 Van Mierlo De Dreu & Weingart, 2003, JAP Meta-analysis team conflict literature studies The facts Meta-analysis Variables: task & relationship conflict (job) satisfaction performance task type:project (highly non-routine) decision making (non-routine) production teams(routine) other team types(mixed)

29 Van Mierlo Results (I)  Relationship conflict & satisfaction: ρ = -.54  Task conflict & satisfaction:ρ = -.32  Relationship conflict & performance:ρ = -.22  Task conflict & performance: ρ = -.23 The facts Meta-analysis (De Dreu & Weingart, 2003) ( ρ = average effect size )

30 Van Mierlo  Task conflict & performance: task type as moderator Conflict perspectives Task / relationship conflict Routine tasks: curvilinear relation with performance low conflict » moderate performance moderate conflict » high performance high conflict » low performance Non-routine tasks: curvilinear relation with performance low conflict» low performance high conflict» high performance very high conflict» moderate performance (Amason, 1996; Jehn, 1995; 1997)

31 Van Mierlo Task conflict & performance for: Highly non-routine (project teams)ρ = -.26 (k=12) Non-routine (decision making teams)ρ = -.20 (k=4) Routine (production teams)ρ =.04 (k=4) Other team types ρ = -.43 (k=4) Relationship conflict & performance for: Highly non-routine (project teams)ρ = -.17 (k=12) Non-routine (decision making teams) ρ = -.39 (k=4) Routine (production teams) ρ = -.04 (k=4) Other team types ρ = -.38 (k=4) Results (II) The facts Meta-analysis (De Dreu & Weingart, 2003)

32 Van Mierlo TC/RC Performance The facts Meta-analysis (De Dreu & Weingart, 2003) Perfmorance Traditional TC non-routine tasks Information processing TC routine tasks TC Expected (linear) TC - performance (non-routine) TC - performance (routine) TC = RC (overall effect) Results

33 Van Mierlo  Clear link between TC & RC: ρ =.52  But: high variance across studies!  Overall correlation TC – performance: ρ = -.23  If ρ (TC-RC) ≤.52: correlation TC - perform: ρ = -.10  If ρ (TC-RC) >.52: correlation TC - perform: ρ = -.35 Task conflict – Relationship conflict (I) De Dreu & Weingart, 2003, JAP

34 Van Mierlo Task & relationship conflict (II) Simons & Peterson, 2000, JAP 3 potential mechanisms for TC-RC link:  Misattribution  Behavior: conflict tactics  Sabotage Task conflictRelationship conflict Trust “Aggressive conflict management tactics”

35 Van Mierlo Method:  Sample: 100 management teams hotel chain response 70 teams, 380 members  Interviews + individual surveys team members - TC/RC: Jehn (1995) - Trust (member perceptions of group-level trust) - Conflict tactics ( “We assert our opinions forcefully” ) - Loudness ( “We raise our voices at each other” ) Task & relationship conflict (III) Simons & Peterson, 2000, JAP

36 Van Mierlo Method (II):  Data aggregation to team level after checks for: > Agreement within teams (r wg(j) ) > Between-team variance & reliability (ICC1 en ICC2) Task & relationship conflict (IV) Simons & Peterson, 2000, JAP

37 Van Mierlo Results (I) Task & relationship conflict (V) Simons & Peterson, 2000, JAP Overall r (TC-RC) =.57** TC RC  Trust:

38 Van Mierlo Results (II): Task & relationship conflict (VI) Simons & Peterson, 2000, JAP Unexpected negative link to relationship conflict (β = -.26*); no moderation effect.  Agressive conflict tactics:

39 Van Mierlo Results (III): Task & relationship conflict (VII) Simons & Peterson, 2000, JAP TC RC  Loudness

40 Van Mierlo Task conflictRelationship conflict Collective EI Intragroup relational ties Norms for regulating negative emotionality Emotion regulation as a moderator. Link TC – RC depends on how a team manages emotions. Task & relationship conflict (VIII) Yang & Mossholder, 2004, JOB

41 Van Mierlo A closer look at the outcomes: Conflict & innovation (De Dreu, 2006, JoM)

42 Van Mierlo Positive perspective on task conflict: Conflict as source of learning and creativity. However: Performance measures focus on goal attainment or output quantity. Conflict & innovation (De Dreu, 2006, JoM)

43 Van Mierlo Hypotheses :  Task conflict promotes “collaborative problem solving”, thus promoting innovation.  Creative processes can cause short-term production losses Conflict & innovation (De Dreu, 2006, JoM)

44 Van Mierlo Innovation= “Intentional introduction and application within a role, group, or organization of ideas, processes, products, or procedures, new to the relevant unit of adoption, designed to significantly benefit the individual, the group, the organization, or wider society” Conflict & innovation (De Dreu, 2006, JoM)

45 Van Mierlo field studies: Study 1:- Parcel delivery, N = 21 teams, - Innovation: # recent innovations, (supervisor judgement) Study 2: -Diverse sample, N= 29 teams - Innovation: 4 survey items filled-out by supervisor. - Short-term goal attainment, 3 goals described and assessed by supervisor. - Collaborative problem solving Conflict & innovation (De Dreu, 2006, JoM)

46 Van Mierlo Conflict & innovation TC Overall results:  Curvilinear relation TC - innovation  Negative relation TC – short-term goal attainment

47 Van Mierlo Collaborative problem solving: Conflict & innovation (De Dreu, 2006, JoM) Task conflictTeam innovation Collaborative problem solving

48 Van Mierlo “My conclusion at this point is that on the whole workplace conflict is hindering rather than helping the individuals and groups involved, and that constructive conflict management is critical to mitigate the potentially very negative effects of workplace conflict on health and well-being, on individual and group creativity and innovation, on team effectiveness, and on inter- organizational collaboration.” (p.15) The virtue and vice of workplace conflict : food for (pessimistic) thought (De Dreu, 2008, JOB)

49 Van Mierlo De Wit, Greer, & Jehn (2011, JAP) Meta-analysis team conflict literature studies But: the quest continues Another Meta-Analysis Variables:  Task, relationship, and process conflict  Proximal outcomes: satisfaction + others  Distal outcomes: performance  Various moderators of the distal and proximal effects of conflict

50 Van Mierlo Results (I) De WitDe Dreu  Relationship conflict & satisfaction:ρ = -.54 (-.54)  Task conflict & satisfaction:ρ = -.22 (-.32)  Relationship conflict & performance:ρ = -.16 (-.22)  Task conflict & performance:ρ = -.01 ns (-.23)  Task conflict & - Trustρ = Cohesionρ =.01 ns - Commitmentρ = OCB ρ = -.19 The quest continues Another Meta-Analysis (De Wit et al., 2011)

51 Van Mierlo Main conclusions (I) The quest continues Another Meta-Analysis (De Wit et al., 2011)  Relationship conflict is disadvantageous for proximal & distal outcomes (= De Dreu & Weingart)  Task conflict is mostly disadvantageous for proximal outcomes but less so than relationship conflict (= De Dreu & Weingart)

52 Van Mierlo Main conclusions (II) The quest continues Another Meta-Analysis (De Wit et al., 2011)  Task conflict - team performance positively affected by: -Organizational level Top-management teams: ρ =.09 (ns); other teams: ρ = -.21* >> Negative effect disappears in top management teams. TC-RC also weaker in top-MT’s. Top-managers better able to separate task from person? -Performance measure Task conflict is more positive for decision quality and financial performance (compared to general performance measures)

53 Van Mierlo Main conclusions (III) The quest continues Another Meta-Analysis (De Wit et al., 2011)  Task conflict – team performance negatively affected by: -Link between TC-RC The stronger this link, the more negative the effect of task conflict. -Level of task conflict The more intense the task conflict, the more negative the effects -Study setting The effect of task conflict is more negative in workplace settings compared to laboratory and classroom studies

54 Van Mierlo Main conclusions (IV) The quest continues Another Meta-Analysis (De Wit et al., 2011)  Task conflict – team performance not affected by: -Task type No differences between decision-making, production, project, or mixed teams (≠ De Dreu & Weingart) -Culture, scale, publication status, subjective/objective performance measure

55 Van Mierlo  Relationship conflict is negative for team effectiveness and affective outcomes (All authors)  Task conflict is negative for affective outcomes but less so than relationship conflict (Jehn, 1995; De Dreu & Weingart, 2003; De Wit et al., 2011) Drawing up the balance Consistent findings:

56 Van Mierlo Task conflict and performance  Jehn (1994; 1995): TC negative for routine tasks, positive for non-routine tasks  Empirical studies found +, 0, and – findings  Overall: De Dreu & Weingart: weak negative effect (ρ=-.23) De Wit et al.: no effect (ρ=-.01) that turns negative in many and neutral/positive in very specific situations  Overall: no clear indications for more positive role TC for non-routine task (De Dreu & Weingart, 2003; De Wit et al., 2011) Drawing up the balance

57 Van Mierlo Task conflict and performance  Negative relationship diminishes as the TC-RC connection weakens. (role of trust, conflict tactics, EI, leadership, organizational level?)  Outcome matters (De Dreu, 2006; De Wit et al., 2011) - negative for short-term goal attainment - moderate TC positive for innovation - TC more positive for decision quality and financial performance Drawing up the balance

58 Van Mierlo Task conflict and performance  Recent & future research: - How to limit transfer of TC to RC? - Role of conflict management strategies - Effects on creativity & innovation - Controlled experimental studies - Boundary conditions positive TC-effects? Drawing up the balance

59 Van Mierlo  Traditional perspective conflict is always negative  Information processing perspective some conflict = ok, intense conflict always negative  Task- versus relationship conflict relationship conflict is always negative task conflict is positive for performance on non-routine tasks ? Conflict perspectives revisited: Drawing up the balance

60 Van Mierlo Conflict Danger & opportunity?

61 Van Mierlo Next monday: Responsorial Deadline for questions = Oct. 27


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