Relationship Conflicts Modeling and Measuring Within Work Teams

Relationship Conflicts Modeling and Measuring Within Work Teams

Jiangning Wu (Institute of Systems Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China) and Fan Lei (Institute of Systems Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/ijkss.2013100101
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Abstract

Nowadays many corporates make use of teams to complete tasks that individuals could not tackle alone. To effectively fulfill tasks, team members with different backgrounds work cooperatively and communicate constantly. In the process, relationship conflicts within the team inevitably occur due to clashes in personality and or values, which are empirically proved to be negative for completion of tasks. The paper focuses on the relationship conflicts resulted from exchanging and sharing knowledge between team members when completing the given tasks and accordingly develops a method to model and measure such conflicts. Based on the developed method, several simulations for the interaction of team members have been conducted to aim revealing the micro-mechanism of generation of relationship conflicts. Experimental results show that relationship conflicts can be generated and evolved with knowledge transfer between team members. Furthermore, impact factors on relationship conflicts as well as team creativity are deeply analyzed from the personality point of view.
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In general, there are two main types of team conflicts, i.e., task led conflict and relationship conflict. The task led conflicts exist when there are disagreements among team members about the content of tasks being performed including differences in viewpoints, ideas, and opinions. And relationship conflicts occur when there are incompatibilities within a team including tension, animosity, and annoyance (Jehn, 1995).

Early conflict theorists have focused on the negative effects of team conflicts (Brown, 1983; Hackman & Morris, 1975; Pondy, 1967; Wall & Callister, 1995). Conflicts have been suggested to interfere with team performance and reduce satisfaction because they produce tension, antagonism, and distract team members from performing the tasks. Empirical evidence has supported the negative relationship between conflict and team productivity and satisfaction (Gladstein, 1984; Saavedra, Earley, & Van Dyne, 1993; Wall & Nolan, 1986). Jehn (1994, 1995, 1997) proposed an alternative perspective by differentiating task conflicts from relationship conflicts. The later generally decrease satisfaction and interfere with task performance, and the former can be beneficial to task performance when working on nonroutine tasks.

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