Not so bad after all: How relational closeness buffers the associaiton between relationship conflict and helpful and deviant group behaviors

Not so bad after all: How relational closeness buffers the associaiton between relationship conflict and helpful and deviant group behaviors

By
Sonja Rispens, Lindred Leura Greer, Karen Jehn
Negotiation and Conflict Management Research.
2011, Vol. 4, Pages 277-296

Past research has left unanswered the question of how to reduce the negative effects of relationship conflict in work groups. This study investigates whether relational closeness in work groups buffers the negative association between relationship conflict and two important group behaviors that are often overlooked in conflict research: group-level helping behavior and counterproductive work behavior. The results of this field study show that the degree of relational closeness in work groups indeed buffers the negative affiliation between relationship conflict and group-level helping behavior and the positive association between relationship conflict and group-level counterproductive work behavior. Specifically, the results suggest that relationship conflicts are only harmful in relationally distant work groups in which members do not know each other well personally and do not feel close to each other. Theoretical implications and suggestions for organizational practice are discussed.