Task conflict in management teams in the 2020s: the effect on decision quality

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In this study, the (curvilinear) relationship between task conflict and decision quality, moderated by informality of decision-making, was examined. It can offer new insights to literature since a curvilinear relationship between task conflict and decision quality was not found yet. Furthermore, no research related to both task conflict and informality of decision-making was conducted. A quantitative study using a survey was conducted at a big Dutch supermarket chain. Against expectations, task conflict does show a non-significant or negative influence on decision quality, depending on the sample. No statistical evidence of a curvilinear effect was found, even not when considering informality of decision-making as a moderator. The study offers five contributions to literature. First, age is proven to influence decision quality and might influence the way people handle conflict too. Second, although most studies argue that task conflict is beneficial for organizational outcomes such as decision quality, it is time consuming and might therefore not be beneficial in industries where there is limited time to make decisions. Third, a scale for informality of decision-making was developed. Fourth, trust in team members’ capabilities (cognition-based trust) improves decision quality. Fifth, the study offers a first indication of how task conflict behaves in the (Dutch) supermarket industry.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen