Does Conflict Help or Hinder Creativity in Teams ?

We examine the relationship between conflict and creativity-relevant intra-group processes over time. More specifically, we explore whether task and relationship conflict have effects on the extent to which teams engage in information exchange and creative problem solving. We test these relationships with multiple waves of longitudinal data collected from 141 individuals across 35 project teams. We find that, replicated across multiple periods of time, task conflict does not have an effect on either information exchange or creative problem solving, but relationship conflict does. Furthermore, while relationship conflict undermines intra-group creative processes, only task conflict appears to affect the creativity of the group’s final outcomes. Contrary to the view ofconflict as functional and stimulating, the outcome effect of task conflict was negative.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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