Managing Co-occurring Conflicts in Teams

Kristin Behfar, Ray Friedman*, Jeanne Brett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This study extends prior research on conflict in teams by showing that a team’s chances of appropriately managing one type of conflict depends on what other types of conflicts are co-occurring. We interviewed 44 managers from different industries who had recently participated in a negotiating team, asking about within-team conflicts and how those conflicts were managed. The data showed that task conflict increased the likelihood that teams managed co-occurring procedural conflicts appropriately, but that procedural conflicts decreased the likelihood that teams managed co-occurring task conflicts appropriately. These results explain why some teams fail to realize the theorized benefits of task conflict and why procedural conflict does not always have a deleterious impact on team performance: The co-occurrence of these different types of conflict can alter what strategy a team uses to manage conflicts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-536
Number of pages36
JournalGroup Decision and Negotiation
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Conflict management
  • Negotiating teams
  • Team conflict
  • Team process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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