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Intragroup conflict

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In sociology, intragroup conflict (or infighting) refers to conflict between two or more members of the same group or team.[1] In recent years, intragroup conflict has received a large amount of attention in conflict and group dynamics literature.[2] This increase in interest in studying intragroup conflict may be a natural corollary of the ubiquitous use of work groups and work teams across all levels of organizations, including decision-making task forces, project groups, or production teams.[3] Jehn[4] identified two main types of intragroup conflict: task conflict and relationship (or emotional) conflict (e.g., differences in personal values).


There are a number of antecedents of intragroup conflict. While not an exhaustive list, researchers have identified a number of antecedents of intragroup conflict, including low task or goal uncertainty,[5] increased group size,[6] increased diversity (i.e., gender, age, race),[7][8] lack of information sharing,[9] and high task interdependence.[10]


Jehn[4] developed the Intragroup Conflict Scale (ICS) to measure the two types of intragroup conflicts (i.e., task and relationship conflict). The ICS consists of eight 7-point Likert scale items which assess intragroup conflict. This scale has been applied in a number of contexts including decision making groups[11] and groups in the moving industry.[12] Furthermore, this scale has high construct and predictive validity.[13]

Group outcomes[edit]

A recent meta-analysis of 116 empirical studies, examining 8,880 groups,[14] revealed a complex relationship between intragroup conflict and group outcomes. That is, effects of intragroup conflict on group performance or outcome is moderated by a number of factors including the context under which it is examined and the type of outcome. One of the prominent findings from the meta-analysis is that task conflict has a less negative relationship (and at times even positive) with group performance and outcomes than believed previously. The results also showed that intragroup conflict is not always negative or detrimental to group performance; for example, task conflict has been related positively to group performance and outcomes when such conflict occurs in management groups.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Forsyth, D. R. (2009). Group dynamics (5th ed.). New York: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-0-495-59952-4. OCLC 318104476.
  2. ^ Korsgaard, M. A.; Jeong, S. S.; Mahony, D. M. & Pitariu, A. H. (2008). "A multilevel view of intragroup conflict". Journal of Management. 34 (6). SAGE Publications: 1222–1252. doi:10.1177/0149206308325124. ISSN 0149-2063. S2CID 143569606.
  3. ^ De Dreu, C. K. W. & Weingart, L. R. (2003). "Task versus relationship conflict, team performance, and team member satisfaction: A meta-analysis". Journal of Applied Psychology. 88 (4). American Psychological Association (APA): 741–749. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.88.4.741. ISSN 1939-1854. PMID 12940412.
  4. ^ a b Jehn, K. A. (1995). "A multimethod examination of the benefits and detriments of intragroup conflict". Administrative Science Quarterly. 40 (2). JSTOR: 256–282. doi:10.2307/2393638. ISSN 0001-8392. JSTOR 2393638.
  5. ^ Mooney, A. C.; Holahan, P. J. & Amason, A. C. (2007). "Don't take it personally: Exploring cognitive conflict as a mediator of affective conflict". Journal of Management Studies. 44 (5). Wiley: 733–758. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6486.2006.00674.x. ISSN 0022-2380. S2CID 144854455.
  6. ^ Amason, A. C. & Sapienza, H. J. (1997). "The effects of top management team size and interaction norms on cognitive and affective conflict". Journal of Management. 23 (4). SAGE Publications: 495–516. doi:10.1177/014920639702300401. ISSN 0149-2063. S2CID 143833786.
  7. ^ Mohammed, S. & Angell, L. C. (2004). "Surface- and deep-level diversity in workgroups: Examining the moderating effects of team orientation and team process on relationship conflict". Journal of Organizational Behavior. 25 (8). Wiley: 1015–1039. doi:10.1002/job.293. ISSN 0894-3796.
  8. ^ Pelled, L. H.; Eisenhardt, K. M. & Xin, K. R. (1999). "Exploring the black box: An analysis of work group diversity, conflict and performance". Administrative Science Quarterly. 44 (1). JSTOR: 1–28. doi:10.2307/2667029. ISSN 0001-8392. JSTOR 2667029. S2CID 145267150.
  9. ^ Moye, N. A. & Langfred, C. W. (1 April 2004). "Information sharing and group conflict: Going beyond decision making to understand the effects of information sharing on group performance". International Journal of Conflict Management. 15 (4). Emerald: 381–410. doi:10.1108/eb022919. ISSN 1044-4068.
  10. ^ Deutsch, M. (1949). "A theory of co-operation and competition". Human Relations. 2 (2). SAGE Publications: 129–152. doi:10.1177/001872674900200204. ISSN 0018-7267.
  11. ^ Amason, A. C. & Mooney, A. C. (1 April 1999). "The effects of past performance on top management team conflict in strategic decision making". International Journal of Conflict Management. 10 (4). Emerald: 340–359. doi:10.1108/eb022829. ISSN 1044-4068.
  12. ^ Jehn, K. A.; Northcraft, G. B. & Neale, M. A. (1999). "Why differences make a difference: A field study of diversity, conflict and performance in workgroups". Administrative Science Quarterly. 44 (4). JSTOR: 741–763. doi:10.2307/2667054. ISSN 0001-8392. JSTOR 2667054. S2CID 16313675.
  13. ^ Pearson, A. W.; Ensley, M. D. & Amason, A. C. (1 February 2002). "An assessment and refinement of Jehn's intragroup conflict scale". International Journal of Conflict Management. 13 (2). Emerald: 110–126. doi:10.1108/eb022870. ISSN 1044-4068.
  14. ^ de Wit, F. R. C.; Greer, L. L. & Jehn, K. A. (2012). "The paradox of intragroup conflict: A meta-analysis". Journal of Applied Psychology. 97 (2). APA: 360–390. doi:10.1037/a0024844. ISSN 1939-1854. PMID 21842974.