Intragroup Conflict in Organizations: A Contingency Perspective on the Conflict-Outcome Relationship
In this paper, we review recent empirical work on interpersonal conflict in organizations and, by incorporating past theory and multiple disciplinary views, develop a comprehensive model of the effects of intragroup conflict in organizations from a contingency perspective. We consider: (1) the type of conflicts that exist; (2) the organizational outcome that is predicted or desired; (3) the temporal aspect of group life and conflict; and (4) the circumstances under which conflict occurs and the processes used to manage it that moderate the conflict-outcome relationship. We highlight the final aspect, the moderating factors, by presenting a conflict-outcome moderated (COM) model that delineates types of moderators which influence the conflict-outcome relationship: amplifiers (those variables that amplify the conflict-outcome relationship, strengthening both the positive and negative effects), suppressors (those variables that weaken both the positive and negative effects on outcomes), ameliorators (those variables that decrease negative effects and increase positive effects), and exacerbators (those variables that increase negative effects of conflict and decrease positive effects). We ultimately present a model of constructive intragroup conflict in organizations delineating the contingencies upon which group success, as it relates to conflict, is dependent.