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Journal of Management Studies 44:5 July 2007 doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2006.00674.

Dont Take It Personally: Exploring Cognitive Conflict as a Mediator of Affective Conflict

Ann C. Mooney, Patricia J. Holahan and Allen C. Amason

Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management, Hoboken, New Jersey; Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management, Hoboken, New Jersey; University of Georgia

abstract Research has sought to explain the multi-dimensionality of conflict and its paradoxical effects on decision making (Amason, 1996; DeDreu and Weingart, 2003; Jehn, 1995). The primary prescription to emerge from this work has been for teams to seek the benefits of cognitive (task) conflict while simultaneously avoiding the costs of affective (emotional) conflict. The problem is that these two types of conflict often occur together and researchers have offered few explanations as to why this happens or guidance as to how it can be avoided. In this paper, we provide empirical evidence that cognitive conflict can contribute to affective conflict. As a result, by encouraging cognitive conflict, teams may inadvertently provoke affective conflict. We provide evidence that behavioural integration can mitigate this tendency.

INTRODUCTION For some time, researchers have sought to explain the conflicting and paradoxical effects of conflict on decision making ( Amason, 1996; Jehn, 1995). As a result, two dimensions of conflict, cognitive and affective, have come into focus. Cognitive conflict occurs when teams discuss and debate various preferences and opinions about their tasks. Such debates promote better decision making by forcing teams to accommodate and synthe-size multiple points of view (Schweiger et al., 1989). Affective conflict, on the other hand, occurs when team members disagree over issues that are personal and emotional in nature. Such conflict hurts decision making by creating animosity and by distracting team members from the work at hand ( Jehn, 1994, 1995; Simons and Peterson, 2000). In light of these dimensions and the effects associated with them, researchers have suggested that decision making improves as teams are able to gain the benefits of cognitive conflict, while avoiding the costs of affective conflict (Amason and Sapienza, 1997; Simons and Peterson, 2000).
Address for reprints: Ann C. Mooney, Stevens Institute of Technology, Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management, Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA (
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A. C. Mooney et al.

The problem with this prescription is that these two types of conflict are closely related and so often occur together (DeDreu and Weingart, 2003). Thus, it is difficult to have one without also getting the other. Researchers have speculated that cognitive and affective conflict occur together because they share common antecedents ( Amason and Sapienza, 1997; Jehn, 1994, 1995). While this explanation makes sense, we suspect an additional reason as well. In this study, we examine whether cognitive conflict actually helps to trigger affective conflict, and in so doing, whether cognitive conflict serves as a mediator between its determinants and affective conflict. While others have discussed this possibility (Amason and Sapienza, 1997; Kellermanns and Floyd, 2005) and examined the relationship between cognitive and affective conflict (Simons and Peterson, 2000), we do not know of any studies that have examined the potential for mediation. Moreover, given our belief that affective conflict may actually emerge from cognitive conflict, we examine whether this effect can be mitigated.

THEORETICAL DEVELOPMENT Cognitive conflict occurs when team members debate different views about a task ( Jehn, 1995). Based upon the notion of a Hegelian dialectic (Churchman, 1971), cognitive conflict promotes the exchange of ideas, the surfacing of assumptions, and the synthesis of diverse perspectives into balanced and well reasoned decisions (Amason, 1996; Kors-gaard et al., 1995). Thus, cognitive conflict generally improves decision making by improving decision quality and by encouraging understanding and acceptance of deci-sions once they are reached ( Jehn, 1997). Affective conflict involves disagreements of a personal nature, such as power struggles or personal incompatibilities ( Jehn, 1995). These disagreements are generally dysfunc-tional as they distract the team from the tasks at hand, lowering decision quality and affective acceptance and producing diminished satisfaction and performance ( Amason, 1996; Jehn, 1997). To better understand the nature of cognitive and affective conflict, researchers have sought to identify the antecedents of each. Three basic sets of antecedents have been examined: team, task, and organization. Team antecedents include characteristics of the team, such as size, composition, and diversity. Task antecedents include the nature of the work, such as its complexity and scope. Organizational antecedents include organiza-tional characteristics, such as norms and strategies. All of these various antecedents have been shown to have some effect on conflict (Amason and Mooney, 1999; Amason and Sapienza, 1997; Jehn, 1994, 1995; Pelled et al., 1999). While some modest differences have been reported (Amason and Mooney, 1999; Pelled et al., 1999), the relationships between these antecedents and the two forms of conflict have generally been consistent. For example, openness to disagreement ( Amason and Sapienza, 1997; Jehn, 1995) promotes both forms of conflict, while value consensus ( Jehn, 1994), mutuality (Amason and Sapienza, 1997), task routineness (Pelled et al., 1999), and prospector strategies (Mooney and Sonnenfeld, 2001) reduce both forms of conflict.
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Cognitive Conflict as a Mediator of Affective Conflict


A Different Perspective In addition to sharing some common antecedents, we suspect that cognitive and affective conflict relate in another way as well. Specifically, we believe that cognitive disagree-ments and debates often trigger the sorts of personal resentments that lead to affective conflict. Others have also discussed this possibility. For example, Baron reports that, often, what starts as a rational exchange of opposing views deteriorates into an emotion-laden exchange . . . in which strong negative feelings are aroused (1984, p. 272). Jehn and Mannix (2001), Amason and Sapienza (1997), and Simons and Peterson (2000) similarly suggest that decision makers have trouble distinguishing cognitive disagree-ments from personal attacks. To understand how this can happen, it is important to remember that decision makers, especially those in upper-level positions, have many responsibilities and often face more stimuli than they can process (Kotter, 1982; Mintzberg, 1973). While they try to manage it all effectively, decision makers operate under bounded rationality (Simon, 1947). As such, they are frequently forced to be less than completely comprehensive in making decisions (Mintzberg et al., 1976). For example, Hambrick et al. (2005) explain that executives facing high job demands are less likely to be fully rational in decision making and more inclined to use cognitive shortcuts such as imitating the actions of others and relying heavily on past experience. Because decision making is complex and difficult and because decision makers have finite time and capability to devote to it, decision making often becomes a quasi-rational rather than a fully rational process. According to social judgment theory (Brehmer, 1976; Hagafors and Brehmer, 1983), when the decision context becomes quasi-rational, human judgment becomes especially important. When this occurs, conflicts can be exacerbated. Brehmer explains that, since the decision maker cannot fully account for the way he arrived at his decision, there will be endless speculation as to why one course of action was chosen over another, specu-lation that will almost inevitably involve assumptions about sinister motives . . . As a consequence, suspicion and distrust develop, and what started as a purely cognitive disagreement turns into a full-scale emotional . . . conflict (1976, p. 986). A complementary explanation is provided by attribution theory (Harvey and Weary, 1985; Heider, 1958). According to attribution theory, team members continuously interpret one anothers intentions and motivations. In the face of disagreements, team members rationalize the views of others by making attributions about them (Fiske and Taylor, 1991). These attributions may be completely innocuous. However, when the conflicting views are subjective and hard to justify, the attributions can be damaging, as in the case where one person decides that another is playing politics or promoting a personal agenda. These damaging attributions can trigger a cycle of disagreement, distrust, and reprisal that leads to full-blown, affective conflict (Creed and Miles, 1996; Zand, 1972).

Consider, for example, the case of a debate between an accounting manager and a sales manager. The accounting manager is evaluating a products rate of return and believes it is too low. The sales manager, on the other hand, may believe the product represents an important part of the firms overall portfolio. Both individuals may be fully

Well-intentioned. However, if one believes the other to be acting out of selfinterest, the disagreement between them, which is cognitive in nature, could quickly become affective conflict.
What we propose is that cognitive conflict mediates, at least partially, the relationships between the antecedents of cognitive conflict and affective conflict. As a result, by trying to encourage cognitive conflict, teams may inadvertently trigger affective conflict.

The Relationship between Cognitive Conflict and Affective Conflict

Decision making is usually more a quasi-rational than a fully rational process due to the complexities of the context and the limitations of the managers time and cognitive capability (Simon, 1947). As a result, decision makers will often take shortcuts and rely on personal judgments and intuitions in developing preferences and perspectives about a course of action (Brehmer, 1976). The more these personal judgments influence decisions, the less likely decision makers will be able to explain and fully justify the decisions they make. As a result, the decisions will become fodder for interpretation and attribution, increasing the potential for others to speculate about and find reasons to distrust the motivations and agendas of their team-mates (Fiske and Taylor, 1991). As a result of these judgments and attributions, team members have a tendency to react personally and emotionally to cognitive debates. For example, team members might misinterpret a differing opinion by one of their teammates as a personal attack or as the manifestation of a hidden agenda (Amason and Sapienza, 1997; Eisenhardt and Bourgeois, 1988; Jehn, 1997). Thus, cognitive conflict is likely to relate positively to affective conflict during decision making.

Hypothesis 1: Cognitive conflict will relate positively to affective conflict. Because we expect that cognitive conflict will trigger affective conflict, we also expect that the antecedents of cognitive conflict will relate indirectly to affective conflict. Thus, we expect cognitive conflict to mediate the relationship between a variety of antecedent conditions and affective conflict. In some cases, the mediation will be partial as some factors will have both direct and indirect effects on affective conflict. In other cases, the mediation will be full as some factors will influence affective conflict only through their effect on cognitive conflict. Cognitive Conflict as a Mediator Influencing Affective Conflict To test for these mediation effects, we focus on the three groups of antecedents conditions mentioned earlier team, task, and organization. The specific antecedents within each area were selected as they have been identified in other studies of conflict and should be pertinent to our tests of a mediation effect.
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Cognitive Conflict as a Mediator of Affective Conflict


Team antecedents of conflict. We first examined three team attributes team size (Amason and Sapienza, 1997), functional diversity (Pelled et al., 1999), and turnover (Pelled et al., 1999). These factors have been commonly considered in studies of conflict because they influence the teams cognitive diversity, which is likely to affect the level of conflict experienced during decision making. Larger teams have greater cognitive diversity than smaller teams, which enables them to process more complex information (Bantel and Jackson, 1989; Eisenhardt and Schoonhoven, 1990). Larger teams are more likely to have members who come from different backgrounds and who have different experiences and opinions (Bantel and Jackson, 1989; Smith et al., 1994). In a study of 48 top management teams, Amason and Sapienza (1997) found that larger teams experienced greater cognitive conflict. Functional diversity, the degree to which team members come from and represent different functional backgrounds (e.g. engineering or marketing), has also been found to promote cognitive diversity and thus, cognitive conflict (Lovelace et al., 2001; Pelled et al., 1999). People from different functional backgrounds possess different skills and think about organizational issues in different ways (Mitroff, 1982). Team members with different functional backgrounds have different local perspectives (Astley et al., 1982, p. 361), derived from the goals and objectives of their part of the organization. In a study by Pelled et al. (1999), functional diversity was associated with greater cognitive conflict. Finally, member turnover should be related to the amount of cognitive conflict the team experiences. Teams, especially those of longer duration, expand and contract as members rotate on and off (Brown and Eisenhardt, 1995). When confronted with new issues, individuals tend to rely on past interpretations, particularly when those past experiences were positive (Dutton, 1993). When turnover is high, new members bring new ideas and perspectives based on experiences gained elsewhere. Incumbent members tend to view issues based upon their experiences on that particular team (George and Bettenhausen, 1990; Pelled et al., 1999). Applying similar logic, Pelled et al. (1999) found a negative relationship between group longevity the average length of time the members of a team belonged to the team and the amount of conflict a team experi-enced. We propose then that these three team-level characteristics will be positively related to cognitive conflict. Hypothesis 2a: Team size, functional diversity, and member turnover will be positively related to cognitive conflict. Past research suggests that these team attributes may also spur affective conflict (Amason and Sapienza, 1997). Team size promotes affective conflict because when teams are larger, social factions, which can engender hostility and tension, are more likely. With more people, it is more difficult for teams to communicate and develop cohesion (e.g. Katzenbach and Smith, 1993; Smith et al., 1994). For example, frustration and tension can emerge as individuals within larger teams struggle to have their opinions heard (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993). Functional diversity may also promote affective conflict. Team members from differ-ent functional areas will inherently represent different groups. As a result, they may be trained, supervised, and rewarded within their functional area or department, rather
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than within the team in which they work. Members of different functional areas are also likely to have different educational backgrounds and career experiences. According to the similarityattraction paradigm, this makes interaction with members like themselves (i.e. from the same functional area) easier than interaction with those they perceive as different (i.e. from a different functional area) (Byrne, 1971). Functional differences can also create a sense of subgroups based on functional membership that naturally leads members to develop allegiances and positive feelings towards members that are from their own area and negative feelings towards members from other areas (Turner, 1975). When extreme, Paul explains, stereotypes emerge because, . . . we want to feel good about the group we belong to and one way of doing so is to denigrate all who arent in it (1998, p. 54). Finally, member turnover is likely to relate to affective conflict. Consistent with the arguments made above, tenure differences may encourage factions or subgroups which can cause tension and hostility (Turner, 1975). For example, team members that have been on a project longer might view newer members as less experienced and may even resent them, based on the circumstances under which they were assigned to the team (e.g. to address weaknesses or to replace members with which existing team members have allegiance). Moreover, team members with more experience may not work as well with newer members since they have less experience. The more experienced members may also be confused by the changing roles and responsibilities that are created by an evolving membership (Goodman and Leyden, 1991; Katzenbach and Smith, 1993). Thus, we expect that turnover, along with team size and functional diversity, will lead to higher levels of affective conflict. Hypothesis 2b: Team size, functional diversity, and member turnover will be positively related to affective conflict. We also expect team size, functional diversity and turnover to relate indirectly to affective conflict. Indeed, as team size, functional diversity, and member turnover stimulate cognitive conflict so too will it become increasingly likely that, based on the social judgment and attribution theory arguments presented in support of Hypothesis 1, the cognitive conflict will inadvertently trigger affective conflict. Stated differently, we expect that cognitive conflict will partially mediate the relationship that team size, functional diversity, and member turnover have with affective conflict. Hypothesis 2c: Cognitive conflict will partially mediate the relationship between team size, functional diversity, and member turnover and affective conflict.
Task antecedents of conflict. It is well established that the nature of the task affects how teams work together to make decisions (e.g. Pelled et al., 1999). As Galbraith explains, If [the task] is not well understood, then during the actual execution of the task more knowledge is acquired which leads to changes in resource allocations, schedules and priorities. All these changes require information processing during task performance. Therefore the greater the task uncertainty, the greater the amount of information that must be processed among decision makers during task execution . . . (1973, p. 4). Thus, tasks that are more
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Cognitive Conflict as a Mediator of Affective Conflict


uncertain require more input and debate among team members to achieve a given level of performance. The extent to which a teams goals are well defined versus ill defined, or ambiguous, is related to task uncertainty (Green et al., 2000). Goals direct the attention, effort, and persistence of team members (Locke and Latham, 1990). When teams are given clear, detailed goals, less deliberation is necessary and team members are able to organize themselves and to accomplish their tasks more efficiently (Cohen and Bailey, 1997). At the same time, when goals are unclear or uncertain, team members may have different ideas about how and what tasks to accomplish. For example, research has shown that tasks such as resource allocation and strategy formulation become more cumbersome and require greater deliberation and debate (Earley and Northcraft, 1989; Mitchell and Silver, 1990; Weingart and Weldon, 1991) when goals are unclear. Thus, when goals are uncertain, we expect teams will experience greater cognitive conflict than when goals are clear. Another task characteristic associated with increased information processing demands is task interdependence (Gladstein, 1984; Goodman, 1986). Task interdependence is the extent to which individuals must exchange resources, information, or materials, or engage in mutual problem solving to accomplish their task. When task interdependence is low, team members can operate as individuals and pursue their personal interests; little interaction is required and the need for communication and potential for conflict is low (Neck et al., 1996). However, when task interdependence is high, success for each team member depends upon the efforts of the others and the need to process information through sharing, coordination, and cooperation increases (Galbraith 1973; Gladstein, 1984; Saavedra et al., 1993; Slocum and Sims, 1980; Wageman, 1995). Under high task interdependence team members are not free to pursue their own personal interests and extensive social relationships are necessary to coordinate the interdependent roles. Given the interconnectedness of the team roles and the increased information processing demands, we would expect more interaction and communication wherein team members would share their ideas and concerns and voice their preferences and objec-tions (Green et al., 2002), increasing cognitive conflict. Hypothesis 3a: Goal uncertainty and task interdependence will be positively related to cognitive conflict.
Unlike the team-level factors, however, we do not expect task-level factors to have significant direct effects on affective conflict. As explained earlier, team-level factors generally reflect differences among team members. These differences are likely to make it more difficult for the team to work together than it would be if team members were similar (Byrne, 1971), which is likely to result in higher levels of affective conflict. Goal uncertainty and task interdependence, on the other hand, should affect all team members in the same way, as these are characteristics of the project or tasks on which the team works. Thus, these factors are less likely to trigger directly affective conflict among team members. We do, however, expect that the cognitive conflict that emerges from the tasklevel factors will spark personal and emotional debates. For example, a team member whose work is dependent on the work of another team member might become
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frustrated with the time it is taking the other team member to complete the task, which might lead to resentment. Thus, what starts as task-related debate, could trigger more personally-oriented conflict. As a consequence, we expect cognitive conflict to fully mediate the relationship between goal uncertainty and task interdependence and affective conflict. Hypothesis 3b: Cognitive conflict will fully mediate the relationship between goal uncertainty and task interdependence and affective conflict.

Organization antecedents of conflict. Characteristics of the organization can also affect the decision process and the conflict experienced during it (Amason and Mooney, 1999; Mooney and Sonnenfeld, 2001). Two organizational characteristics that have received substantial consideration in the study of conflict are cultural norms and reward structures. An organizations culture is a system of attitudes, beliefs, and norms shared by its members (Schein, 1985). As an organization ages, a distinct culture tends to emerge and persist. As Denison explains, organizational cultures are rooted in history, collectively held, and sufficiently complex to resist many attempts at direct manipulation (1996, p. 644). While culture reflects a complex interaction among many factors, research has shown that specific cultural traits relate to performance and effectiveness (e.g. Denison and Mishra, 1995; Gordon and DiTomaso, 1992). One such trait is the degree to which the culture is team-oriented. A team-oriented culture is one where the organizational values, beliefs, and norms support teamwork. Team-oriented cultures should encourage organizational members to work effectively in teams (Pinto et al., 1993). With a strong team culture, team members should feel free to discuss their differences. Moreover, a teambased culture will likely involve specific mechanisms, like training and socialization, to support the open expression and exchange of ideas. Thus, teams operating in a teamoriented culture should be more willing and able to debate task-related perspectives and engage in greater cognitive conflict. For similar reasons, reward systems that are team-based rather than individuallyfocused should also affect cognitive conflict. Knowing that their contributions to the team will affect the level of financial reward should encourage team members to be more involved (Nadler and Lawler, 1977; Porter and Lawler, 1968). Moreover, the fact that an individuals compensation will suffer as their team performs poorly should motivate them to express their objections and to critically evaluate their teams actions. While the empirical results have been mixed (Cohen and Bailey, 1997), research has linked team-based rewards to collaborative behaviour (Harrison et al., 2002), team performance (Cohen et al., 1996), and concern for shared interests (Tjosvold, 1991). Indeed, by implementing team-based rewards and by promoting team-based cultural norms, orga-nizations encourage team members to be more open and engaged, which should lead to increased cognitive conflict. Thus, we hypothesize: Hypothesis 4a: A team-oriented culture and team-based rewards will be positively related to cognitive conflict.
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Cognitive Conflict as a Mediator of Affective Conflict


As with the task-level variables, we do not expect the organization-level factors to relate directly and positively to affective conflict. All team members face the same type of culture and reward system; thus, these factors will not result in differences among team members that might encourage affective conflict. Indeed, we might actually expect the reverse, that team-focused cultures and rewards would insulate teams from personal and emotional conflicts. Such speculation notwithstanding, however, we do expect that any relationship between team-oriented norms, team-based rewards and affective conflict is indirect. In other words, as the culture and the reward system become more team-oriented, cognitive conflict should increase. As that cognitive conflict increases, so too should we expect that some affective conflict will be inadvertently ignited. Thus, we expect cognitive conflict to fully mediate the relationship between team-oriented culture and team-based rewards and affective conflict.

Hypothesis 4b: Cognitive conflict will fully mediate the relationship between team-oriented culture and team-based rewards and affective conflict. Mitigating the Tendency of Cognitive Conflict to Trigger Affective Conflict
If social judgment and attribution processes link cognitive and affective conflict, then it is possible that team norms could exist to alter those attributions and mitigate the relationship. For example, Simons and Peterson (2000) found that high levels of intragroup trust related to a weaker positive link between cognitive conflict and affective conflict. They explained this by saying, interpretation processes play an important role in transforming one form of conflict into another (p. 109). Dooley and Fryxell (1999) also explored the role of attributions and the relationship of conflict to decision outcomes. While they did not measure cognitive and affective conflict separately, they did test whether attributions of trustworthiness (competence and loyalty) influenced relationships between conflict and decision outcomes (decision quality and commitment). They found support for their hypotheses that team members attributions of trustworthiness moder-ated the relationships between conflict and decision outcomes. Building on this work, we expect behavioural integration to affect a teams ability to manage conflict effectively. Behavioural integration is a concept developed by Hambrick (1994) and refers to the extent to which team members engage in mutual and collective interaction. Such interaction has three elements: (1) quantity and quality of information exchange, (2) collaborative behavior, and (3) joint decision making (Hambrick, 1994, p. 189). A behaviourally integrated team is a team that actually works as a unit the members share information and resources, work collaboratively on projects and tasks, and make decisions together. In essence, they exhibit a high degree of teamness (Ham-brick, 1998). A team with little behavioural integration is one where the members work independently they share little information and resources, do not consult each other on tasks, and make more autonomous decisions. We expect that in teams with high behavioural integration, cognitive conflict is less likely to trigger affective conflict. Research on behavioural integration by Hambrick (1998) and Siegel and Hambrick (1996) demonstrates that integrated teams make better decisions. One reason for this may be that integrated teams are better able to manage
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conflict. Eisenhardt et al. (1997) also found that strong dyadic ties, an indication of behavioural integration, enabled teams to more effectively air diverse ideas and views without negative repercussions. Finally, Amason and Sapienza (1997) found that when teams had high levels of openness and mutuality two key attributes of behavioural integration they were able to minimize affective conflict. When taken together, these findings seem to suggest that in teams with high levels of behavioural integration team members are less likely to make personal judgments and sinister attributions about other team members views and opinions. Perhaps they trust that their team members have a real stake in the success of team decisions and so are less inclined to pursue self-motivated interests. Consistent with the findings on trust (Simons and Peterson, 2000), we expect that teams with high behavioural integration will be less likely to react personally and emotionally to cognitive debates. We do not expect that behavioural integration can completely prevent cognitive conflict from sparking affective conflict, but we do expect that behavioural integration will mitigate the tendency. Thus, we hypothesize:
Hypothesis 5: Behavioural integration will moderate the positive relationship between cognitive and affective conflict, such that the relationship will be weaker when behavioural integration is high and stronger when behavioural integration is low.

In summary, we expect the team, task, and organization attributes will relate positively to cognitive conflict. However, an unintended consequence of these relationships is that the cognitive conflict may trigger affective conflict. This indirect influence should be mitigated by behavioural integration. A summary of these relationships is provided by Figure 1. RESEARCH METHODS To test our hypotheses, we gathered data from 94 project teams (612 individuals) in 79 companies in the New York metropolitan area, operating in eight industries, including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, computer hardware/software, government defence, financial services, consumer products, and consumer electronics. Our use of project teams is consistent with the type of groups examined in much of the conflict research from which we draw ( Jehn, 1994, 1995, 1997; Jehn and Mannix, 2001; Pelled et al., 1999). Findings from studies of top management teams (Amason and Sapienza, 1997; Simons and Peterson, 2000) should also have relevance to the decision making behaviours of the teams in our sample as these teams were selfgoverning, autonomous, and focused on complex, strategic issues. Examples of the issues being addressed by the teams in the sample include new product and service development, vendor selection, customer service issues, and order fulfilment problems. The teams were identified and accessed through team members enrolled in a part-time Executive Master of Technology Management (EMTM) programme at a leading university. Participants in this programme average 32 years of age and all hold management level positions. Managers in the EMTM programme were made aware of the study and asked if a team in which they were involved would participate. Each EMTM
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Cognitive Conflict as a Mediator of Affective Conflict

Team Attributes:
Team Size


Functional Diversity

(+) (+)


Task Attributes:
Goal Uncertainty



Task Interdependence

Org. Attributes:
Team-Oriented Culture

Behavioural Integration

Team-Based Rewards

Figure 1. A model of cognitive and affective conflict

manager identified a project team within his or her organization. Participation by these teams, however, was voluntary. The manager, referred to in the paper as the team representative was the primary contact. On average, we received 6.5 responses per team, with 1 of those responses being the team representative. Of the 612 individual responses then, 94 or one in each team, was from the EMTM programme; the remaining 518 (85 per cent) respondents were not. Since students represented such a small per-centage of the overall sample, we are reasonably confident that the programme did not bias the responses and study results.

Data Collection Data were collected via two survey instruments: (1) a team information sheet, and (2) a team member survey. The team member surveys were distributed to the team members, including the team leader, by the team representative. The information sheet was completed only by the team leader and was used to collect objective, descriptive data about the team and the project. The team member survey was completed by all the team members, including the team leader, and was designed to collect data about team dynamics and team member interactions.
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From each of the 97 teams contacted we received an information sheet (from each team leader) and team member surveys from multiple team members. In three of the 97 cases, however, less than one-third of the team responded. As a result, these teams were dropped from the study. The final sample then was 94 teams, a response rate of 97 per cent. The average size of the teams, as reported by the team leader, was 9.5 members and we received, on average, 6.5 responses per team, a within-team response rate of 68 per cent. For 74 (79 per cent) of the teams, 50 per cent or more of the team responded. Thus, we are reasonably confident that the data represented the collective views of the teams.

Team Size was provided by the team leader and represents the number of team members involved in the project. See Table I for the wording of the items in the study, along with the results of Cronbachs alpha and rwg assessments. Cronbachs alpha was acceptable for all of the multiple item measures; thus, we averaged the items together to obtain a scale mean. The results of the rwg suggested agreement among team members; thus, team member responses were averaged together to obtain team-level measures. Functional Diversity was measured by asking the team leader to report the total number of functional areas represented on the team. If multiple team members represented the same functional area (e.g. finance), they were counted only once (the team leaders were instructed to associate each member with only one primary functional area). We calculated functional diversity by dividing the number of different areas by team size. For example, if a team representative reported 5 functional areas and 5 members on the team, that team would have a diversity measure of 1 (5/5). Whereas, if there were 6 members on the team, the diversity measure would be 0.83 (5/6), indicating a lower level of diversity. This measure was adapted from Blaus (1977) index, which considers the number of functional areas as a proportion of the teams membership. Like Blau (1977), a value of 1 suggests the highest level of diversity and all values are positive. Team Turnover was measured on the information sheet with a single item that asked what percent turnover has there been in team membership. The team leader chose from 5 different ranges: 1 (020%); 2 (2140%); 3 (4160%); 4 (61 80%); 5 (81 100%). Goal Uncertainty was measured on the team member survey with two items adapted from McComb et al. (1999). The responses were provided on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 strongly agree to 5 strongly disagree and were reverse scored. Task Interdependence was measured on the team member survey with two items from Gladstein (1984). The responses were provided on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 to no extent to 5 to a great extent and were reverse scored. Team-Oriented Culture was measured on the team member survey with 4 items from Green et al. (2002). Responses were provided on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 strongly disagree to 5 strongly agree. Team-Based Rewards was measured on the team member survey using a single item adapted from Van de Ven and Ferry (1980). Responses were provided on a 5point Likert scale ranging from 1 not at all likely to 5 almost a certainty.
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