Taking Advantage of Conflicts in Group Decision Making
Anneke Zwart, Student (University), Netherlands, Member
In past research it was often argued that group decision making (GDM) improves if task-conflicts are present.
Task-conflicts are different opinions about the content and outcomes of the task being
Why this positive effect? Because task-conflicts prevent premature consensus and encourage critical thinking. It seems obvious. But other studies found no such relationship or even a negative one. The relationship between tasks conflicts and good GDM is thus ambiguous.
De Wit, Jehn and Scheepers have recently discovered that another factor is playing an important role when we're analyzing the extent to which task-conflicts are beneficial for GDM: the presence (or absence) of a relationship conflict.
According to the authors, task conflicts are more likely to have a positive effect on GDM if relationship conflicts are absent in the company.
They suggest 2 possibilities in which a relationship conflict negatively affects the relationship between task conflict and GDM:
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