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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32967

Title: Agreeing to Disagree...or Not: A Multi-level Examination of Conflict Spillover in Diverse Groups
Authors: Hill, Kevin Michael Andrew
Advisor: Xie, Jia Lin
Department: Management
Keywords: teams
multilevel
intragroup conflict
moderated mediation
composition model
task conflict
relationship conflict
team viability
Issue Date: 5-Sep-2012
Abstract: To better understand the impact of task conflict in work teams, an incremental, multi-level model is developed, which distinguishes individual-level perceptions of conflict from more overt group-level manifestations of conflict. Task conflict is conceptualized as being detrimental for teams only to the extent that it positively predicts relationship conflict. The positive relationship between task conflict and relationship conflict is referred to as conflict spillover. The composition of team members’ underlying beliefs concerning the functional value of task conflict (referred to as conflict values) is examined as a moderator of conflict spillover. It is proposed that perceptual conflict spillover is smaller among team members who hold positive conflict values, and that manifest conflict spillover is smaller among teams composed primarily of members who hold positive conflict values. Hypotheses were tested in a longitudinal study of 59 student teams (294 individuals). At the team level, the diversity of team members’ conflict values was found to moderate manifest conflict spillover, such that the association between task and relationship conflict was significantly positive for teams composed of members who held more diverse conflict values. For teams composed of members who had less diverse conflict values, there was no significant association between manifest task conflict and manifest relationship conflict. As a result of these significant differences in conflict spillover, manifest task conflict indirectly and negatively predicted the task performance and viability of teams containing more diverse conflict values, but did not significantly impact the effectiveness of teams with less diverse conflict values. At the individual level, the significant positive association between perceived task conflict and perceived relationship conflict was not moderated by individual conflict values. However, because of this perceptual conflict spillover, task conflict perceptions also indirectly and negatively predicted team members’ personal willingness to continue working in the team. Results of this dissertation highlight important differences in the ways that conflict operates at the individual and group levels. Having identified the diversity of conflict values as a moderator of manifest conflict spillover, this dissertation outlines areas for further academic and practical knowledge development concerning the prevention of dysfunctional team dynamics.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32967
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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