This article examines the impact of role ambiguity and trust on the transformation of task conflict into relationship conflict. Building on the work of Simons and Peterson (2000) we argue that the work environment—in the form of role ambiguity—provides information with which individuals assess the motivations underlying task conflict. We hypothesize that under high role ambiguity, individuals are less likely to attribute an ulterior motive to those engaging in task conflict because they see the conflict as stemming from the needs of the work itself. In a sample of 141 managerial, professional and administrative employees we find strong support for this hypothesis as well as the additional hypothesis that this effect is stronger under conditions of high trust.
Tidd, S., McIntyre, H. and Friedman, R. (2004), "THE IMPORTANCE OF ROLE AMBIGUITY AND TRUST IN CONFLICT PERCEPTION: UNPACKING THE TASK CONFLICT TO RELATIONSHIP CONFLICT LINKAGE", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 364-380. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb022918Download as .RIS
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