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Creating Constructive Task Conflict: Reward Structures and Group Process Training

Rispens, Sonja, Jehn, Karen A. and Thatcher, Sherry M.B., "Creating Constructive Task Conflict: Reward Structures and Group Process Training" (June 1, 2005). IACM 18th Annual Conference Available at SSRN:


    Past research (Jehn, 1995; Amason, 1996) and recent reviews of intragroup conflict (Jehn & Bendersky, 2003) suggest that task conflict, or disagreements among group members about the tasks being performed, including viewpoints, ideas, and opinions (c.f. Jehn, 1995), can be beneficial to group performance. However, a recent meta-analysis by De Dreu and Weingart (2003) indicates that, on average, task conflict is detrimental to performance. To reconcile these past results and current findings, we propose to examine the conditions under which task conflict is constructive in groups. That is, how can we leverage the advantages associated with task conflict? We examine the effect of different reward systems on the cooperation and competition within groups, and whether a cooperative environment is necessary for task conflict to be constructive. In addition, we also study if and how norms within groups influence a constructive task conflict profile. To be more specific, we investigate whether people can be trained to have constructive conflict by influencing group norms about conflict.
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