Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the triple interaction of task conflict, emotion regulation and group temporariness on the emergence of relationship conflict. Design/methodology/approach – A field study was conducted to test the interaction of emotion regulation and task conflict on the emergence of relationship conflict in 43 short‐term (temporary) groups and 44 long‐term groups. Findings – The results show that the highest chance for task conflict to evolve into relationship conflict is when groups (both short‐term and long‐term) have less effective emotion regulation processes, while task and relationship conflict are rather decoupled in long‐term groups scoring high on emotion regulation. Research limitations/implications – The paper concludes with a discussion of the obtained results in terms of their implications for conflict management in groups. Further research should explore the moderation effects in longitudinal studies in order to fully test the variables in the model. Originality/value – The paper answers the call for contingency models of intra‐group conflict and tests the moderating effect of two such contingencies in the relationship between task and relationship conflict.
International Journal of Conflict Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 10, 2012
Keywords: The Netherlands; Students; Project teams; Conflict management; Groups; Task and relationship conflict; Emotion regulation; Short‐term groups