When Task Conflict Becomes Personal: The Impact of Perceived Team Performance

Hannes Günter*, Hetty van Emmerik, Bert Schreurs, Tom Kuypers, Ad van Iterson, Guy Notelaers

*Corresponding author for this work

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Although potentially beneficial, task conflict may threaten teams because it often leads to relationship conflict. Prior research has identified a set of interpersonal factors (e.g., team communication, team trust) that help attenuate this association. The purpose of this article is to provide an alternative perspective that focuses on the moderating role of performance-related factors (i.e., perceived team performance). Using social identity theory, we build a model that predicts how task conflict associates with growth in relationship conflict and how perceived team performance influences this association. We test a three-wave longitudinal model by means of random coefficient growth modeling, using data from 60 ongoing teams working in a health care organization. Results provide partial support for our hypotheses. Only when perceived team performance is low, do task conflicts relate with growth in relationship conflict. We conclude that perceived team performance seems to enable teams to uncouple task from relationship conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-604
JournalSmall Group Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • task conflict
  • relationship conflict
  • perceived team performance
  • random coefficient growth modeling

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