A cross‐cultural comparison of intragroup conflict in The Netherlands and Brazil

Daan Bisseling (Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Filipe Sobral (Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration, Getulio Vargas Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Publication date: 26 April 2011



The purpose of this study is to examine and compare the effects of emotional and task conflict on team performance and member satisfaction in two distinct cultures, Brazil and The Netherlands.


A survey with 366 team members and interviews with 20 team managers were conducted. To analyse data and test the proposed hypotheses, hierarchical regression analyses were used.


Findings suggest that cultural differences between these two countries not only influence the way intragroup conflict is experienced, but also its impact on members' satisfaction and group performance. In Brazil, emotional and task conflict were both negatively associated with individuals' satisfaction and perceived team performance, while in The Netherlands no significant relationships were found between both types of conflict and team performance.

Research limitations/implications

Several limitations of this research must be recognized: the use of self‐report measures that may have some inherent social desirability bias; and the use of linear regressions to test relationships that may be non‐linear.

Practical implications

This paper shows that managers need to focus on differentiating emotional and task conflict and find ways to seize the potential of task‐related conflicts.


The paper sheds light on how culture influences intragroup conflict and its impact on team outcomes, enlightening the role of cultural context in conflict research.



Bisseling, D. and Sobral, F. (2011), "A cross‐cultural comparison of intragroup conflict in The Netherlands and Brazil", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 151-169. https://doi.org/10.1108/10444061111126684

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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