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Conflict in small groups: The meaning and consequences of process conflict


Small Group Research


Organisational Behaviour

Authors / Editors

Behfar K J;Mannix E A;Peterson R S;Trochim W M K


Publication Year



Through three studies of interacting small groups, we aimed to better understand the meaning and consequences of process conflict. Study 1 was an exploratory analysis of qualitative data that helped us to identify the unique dimensions of process conflict to more clearly distinguish it from task and relationship conflict. Study 2 used a broader sampling of participants to (a) demonstrate why process conflict has been difficult to discriminate from task conflict in many conflict scales, and (b) develop a two-factor Process Conflict Scale that effectively distinguishes process from task conflict. Study 3 used this new scale to examine the relationship between process conflict and group viability (group performance, satisfaction, and effective group process). The results showed that process conflict negatively affects group performance, member satisfaction, and group coordination.

Available on ECCH


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