This paper aims to explore the role of goal‐oriented attitudes and behaviors as antecedents of conflict management and the subsequent impact of conflict management on team outcomes in virtual teams. Of particular interest is the role of “commitment to team goals” as a predictor of successful conflict management and the subsequent impact of conflict management on team outcomes.
This paper describes the results from a quasi‐experimental study examining the relationships among commitment to team goals, conflict management and team outcomes in virtual teams. First, it provides an in depth review of relevant empirical findings. Next, it describes a study examining the relationships between three sets of variables: commitment to team goals; conflict management; and team outcomes (performance and attitudinal) in the context of virtual teams. Data were collected from 141 students grouped in 39 teams size 3 to 4 that were part of four cohorts of an Engineering Management course.
The results provide some preliminary evidence that conflict management mediated the relationships between goal commitment and team outcomes. Results suggest that commitment to team goals is a significant predictor of successful conflict management. Findings also suggest that teams that are more actively involved in preventing and solving their conflict experience a significant increase in the relationship between commitment to team goals and team performance, suggesting that use of effective conflict management can support team effectiveness in the context of virtual teams. Finally, limitations and suggestions for future research are presented.
This paper sheds some light into the role conflict as a mediator on the relationship between goal commitment and virtual team effectiveness. It provides preliminary evidence that conflict management plays a critical role in enhancing virtual team effectiveness.
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