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The IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior :
Personality, Conflict and Performance: Exploring Predictive Relationships
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Conflict is a pervasive element of organizational teams, which affects their performance. While prior research, to some extent, has investigated the role of team members’ personality in conflict, very few studies have examined how personality incites the effects of conflict on team performance. The present study reviews the influence of the Big Five factors (conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness and openness to experience) on task and relationship conflicts and proposes that the Big Five personality traits and conflicts interact to affect the performance of the teams in an organization. Developing an understanding of the effects of personality on conflicts will enable the teams to control and curtail the adverse influence of conflict on performance.

 
 
 

Understanding and managing organizational conflict is a subject of profound interest for academics and organizations alike. Conflict has commanded theoretical and research attention for over 50 years (Lau and Cobb, 2009; and Bradley et al., 2012). The interest in conflict is due to the increased dependence on teams within organizations. Teams are considered the fundamental building blocks of an organization and are necessary to engender effective organizational results. They are characterized by intermingling of individuals in an intricate, active and collaborative (McGrath et al., 2000) environment to achieve a common objective and gather diversity of information, backgrounds and values. They are an amalgamation of corresponding employee skills, knowledge, attitudes, personality and other characteristics that leads to accomplishment of organizational goals (Peeters et al., 2006). Conflict arises within the teams because people differ in their attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and behaviors; personality thus contributes significantly to the relationship between individuals (Jensen-Campbell and Graziano, 2005). Though prior works have examined the demographic diversity of teams as precursors to insights on conflict, personality is another measure of diversity that has not been given adequate attention in literature.

The Big Five or the Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality is a robust classification and the most used in personality studies (Aeron and Pathak, 2016). It provides a comprehensive framework that has been widely accepted in research and practice. Common to many studies, Big Five personality constructs have mainly focused on team performance (Bell, 2007; and Prewett et al., 2009), and far less research has considered the role of personality in conflict, though “there has been renewed recognition of the role of personality traits in conflict” (Korsgaard et al., 2008, p. 1229). Another key limitation of this body of work is as to how personality and conflict impact performance; the investigation into the influence of members’ characteristics and conflict on performance in a team is lacking in the literature. In response, the study explores whether the personality of members affects conflict in a team and thus can be used as a catalyst to restrain the adverse effects of conflict on the performance of a team.

 
 
 

Organizational Behavior Journal, Conflict and Performance, Exploring Predictive Relationships