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J Appl Psychol. 2013 Mar;98(2):385-92. doi: 10.1037/a0029845. Epub 2012 Sep 10.

Ready to rumble: how team personality composition and task conflict interact to improve performance.

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Division of Management and Entrepreneurship, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA.


Although prior work has proposed a number of conditions under which task conflict in teams may improve performance, composition variables have been left unexplored. Given the effects of personality traits on team processes and outcomes demonstrated in prior work, investigating whether specific personality compositions influence the effect of task conflict on team performance is critical to researchers' understanding of conflict in teams. Our results indicate that team-level averages of both openness to experience and emotional stability function as moderators of the relationship between task conflict and team performance. Specifically, task conflict had a positive impact on performance in teams with high levels of openness or emotional stability; in contrast, task conflict had a negative impact on performance in teams with low levels of openness or emotional stability. Thus, when task conflict emerges, teams composed of members who are open minded or emotionally stable are best able to leverage conflict to improve performance. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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