Conflict in Teams: Modeling Early and Late Conflict States and the Interactive Effects of Conflict Processes

Academic Article


  • We introduce a model of teams’ early and late conflict states, conflict processes, and performance. In a study of 529 individuals in 145 teams, we provide a theoretical framework and empirically test a series of hypotheses pertaining to the influence of conflict states, including task and relationship conflict, on performance, as well as the moderating effect of two conflict processes (cooperative and competitive management approaches). We address inconsistencies in the literature related to the effect of team conflict, specifically task conflict, within teams. Our results suggest that task conflict in the end of a team’s life cycle, like relationship conflict, can have a significant negative effect on performance, but only when teams’ conflict management approaches are competitive (rather than cooperative). We also provide evidence that conflict management approaches are affected by the type of conflict teams exhibit in their early life cycle stages. Thus, we present a study of how early levels of conflict types affect conflict management approaches, and how these approaches affect later levels of the conflict type/performance relationship. Our model suggests that conflict types and conflict management approaches should be modeled together to better understand team conflict.
  • Authors

  • Maltarich, Mark A
  • Kukenberger, Michael
  • Reilly, Greg
  • Mathieu, John
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • February 2018
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In


  • teams, team conflict types, team conflict management approaches
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 6
  • End Page

  • 37
  • Volume

  • 43
  • Issue

  • 1