Effects of task and relationship conflicts on individual work behaviors

Lin Lu (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Fan Zhou (Zhejiang University, Zhejiang, China)
Kwok Leung (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Publication date: 26 April 2011



Although the negative consequences of conflict in work settings have long been recognized, it is only in recent years that researchers have examined its positive effects, and the majority of this research has been conducted at the group level. This paper aims to examine the positive effects of conflict on individual work behaviors by differentiating between task and relationship conflicts, as well as the moderating influence of two contextual variables.


A survey was conducted with 166 pairs of supervisors and subordinates in China.


Results supported the hypotheses that task conflict is positively related to both innovative behaviors and knowledge sharing behaviors while relationship conflict is negatively related to both individual‐directed organizational citizenship and knowledge sharing behaviors. Support for innovation and reward system for relationship‐building functioned as contextual factors to moderate the relationships between task and relationship conflicts and the workplace behaviors studied.


The hypotheses proposed and most of the findings are original.



Lu, L., Zhou, F. and Leung, K. (2011), "Effects of task and relationship conflicts on individual work behaviors", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 131-150. https://doi.org/10.1108/10444061111126675

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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