Why don't we agree on what we see? : the influence of status differences and need to belong on group members' perceptions of the level of intragroup conflict

Maurer, Maren Luise (2009) Why don't we agree on what we see? : the influence of status differences and need to belong on group members' perceptions of the level of intragroup conflict.

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Abstract:The research on conflict in groups often assumes that members of the same group perceive the same amount of conflict within their group. Recently, authors started to argue that we should actually pay attention towards differences in conflict perceptions within teams ( Jehn & Chatman, 2000; Jehn, Rispens & Thatcher, in press). They found that different group members perceived different amounts of conflict in their groups and that this asymmetry in the perception of conflict had a significant negative influence on the performance and creativity of the group, and on individuals' satisfaction with the group and their intention to remain in their workgroup (Jehn et al, in press). In this study I investigated possible antecedents of conflict asymmetry, thus, why members of the same group perceive different amounts of conflict, on 20 teams who were employed at clinics and doctors’ surgeries. I confine myself to status and need to belong as possible antecedents, due to the fact that past research has shown that differences and inconsistencies in the organizational status are one source which causes conflict between individuals as well as groups (George & Jones, 2007; Walton & Dutton, 1969). In addition, previous research has shown that differences in the personality lead to different perceptions of conflict (Bono, Boles, Judge & Lauver, 2002). Thus it seemed likely that people with a different need to belong perceive the level of conflict differently, due to the fact that high need to belong individuals are in general better in identifying and accurately decoding verbal and non-verbal social cues and have in addition an greater empathic accuracy (Pickett, Gardner & Knowles, 2004). I found that status had an influence on the perceived level of conflict of each individual team member, in the manner that people higher in status think others see lower levels of task as well relationship conflict than they do. In addition, I found a non-significant tendency that status self-enhancers perceived in average a lower level of conflict than status self-reducers. I found no support for the hypothesis that need to belong had an influence on the perception of the conflict level which each member of a group experiences. In addition, there was also no confirmation that frustration mediated the effect of need to belong. However, I found that frustration correlated significantly with perceived conflict such that people who are more frustrated perceive higher levels of conflict in their team compared to those who are less frustrated.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/58905
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