The purpose of this paper is to explore the current management perceptions regarding conflict within teams, specifically looking at capital investment appraisals, with the aim of improving team performance.
The research was undertaken in two stages. The first stage is based on a postal questionnaire survey relating to the appraisal of capital investments, addressed to large UK organisations. The second stage was conducted through semi-structured interviews, which were followed by a short-questionnaire sent out by e-mail, and designed from the information obtained from the interviews. The research is both qualitative and quantitative.
From the exploratory study, the author was able to identify and further investigate what the author’s respondents termed “personal” and “departmental” conflicts, as well as what the author perceived to be “good” (positive) conflict and “bad” (negative) conflict. The author finds that controlled “departmental” conflict may lead to enhanced decision making, while “personal” conflict may be destructive and lead to non-optimal decision making. The author also identified the importance of the investment appraisal “procedure” as distinct from the individual models used, and suggests that this is one way of controlling conflict within teams.
The research is limited by the fact that it is based on individual perceptions of a small sample number. However, the sample consists of some of the most senior executives from the largest UK organisations whose views are usually difficult to obtain by academics.
It provides senior managers with a comprehensive view, by their peers, and a better understanding of team conflict, especially with regard to “personal” and “departmental” conflicts; thus, allowing them to manage teams more efficiently in the future.
The research is unique in that it focusses on conflict within teams that are given the specific task of appraising capital projects and it theorises on what the respondents’ terms “departmental” and “personal” conflict. It brings up-to-date, managements’ current perception of team conflict and contributes to the ongoing search for a better understanding of conflict within business teams, and ultimately to an enhanced team performance and improved decision making.
Lefley, F. (2018), "An exploratory study of team conflict in the capital investment decision-making process", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 960-985. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-04-2017-0045Download as .RIS
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