Moving beyond relationship and task conflict: Toward a process-state perspective

Leslie A. DeChurch*, Jessica R. Mesmer-Magnus, Dan Doty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Teams are formed to benefit from an expanded pool of expertise and experience, yet 2 aspects of the conflict stemming from those core differences will ultimately play a large role in determining team viability and productivity: conflict states and conflict processes. The current study theoretically reorganizes the literature on team conflict-distinguishing conflict states from conflict processes-and details the effects of each on team effectiveness. Findings from a meta-analytic cumulation of 45 independent studies (total number of teams 3,218) suggest states and processes are distinct and important predictors of team performance and affective outcomes. Controlling for conflict states (i.e., task and relationship conflict), conflict processes explain an additional 13% of the variance in both team performance and team affective outcomes. Furthermore, findings reveal particular conflict processes that are beneficial and others detrimental to teams. The truth about team conflict: Conflict processes, that is, how teams interact regarding their differences, are at least as important as conflict states, that is, the source and intensity of their perceived incompatibilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-578
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Conflict
  • Group
  • Management
  • Meta-analysis
  • Team

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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