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Talent without power: Status and power dynamics of performance and intragroup conflicts in engineering teams

Shashank Mittal (Department of OB and HR, Rajagiri Business School, Cochin, India)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 25 July 2019

Issue publication date: 4 September 2019




This study aims to look at the interaction dynamics among engineering professionals from the lens of status hierarchies and derive on the role of intragroup conflicts prevalent in engineering teams. It develops and tests a comprehensive moderated-mediation model combining interpersonal status dynamics (of talent and conflicts prevalent within the team) with team external power dynamics (with other teams) and their resultant effect on team performance through the intragroup conflicts.


Data at team level from 1,265 members belonging to 218 engineering teams were used for hypothesis testing.


Process and status conflicts fully explain the negative effect of having more talented members in teams on team performance. High talented teams have lower levels of process and status conflicts and higher levels of performance when they have high power.

Research limitations/implications

This paper contributes to the literature on engineering teams, team status, power and conflicts.

Practical implications

This paper advises manager on where to exactly look for problems in the internal working of talented teams and conditions that could negatively impact their performance.


Research on teams’ internal composition and team performance link remains inconclusive. The established pattern of thinking in both practice and research is that having more talented members in the engineering teams is attached to superior performance. Whereas it is often the case that even after having multiple talented members, teams are not able to perform well. With some exceptions, studies have not paid attention to the dynamics of having more talented members and its flip side on team performance.



Mittal, S. (2019), "Talent without power: Status and power dynamics of performance and intragroup conflicts in engineering teams", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 566-587.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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