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Exploring the Curvilinear Relationship between Task Conflict and Team Performance: The Roles of Expertise Disparity and Informal Network Strength
Although conflict research suggests a curvilinear relationship between task conflict and team outcomes, the nature of the relationship between task conflict and team performance is yet fully understood. Drawing on contingency perspective, the authors hypothesize and test two untested contingencies – expertise disparity within teams and team’s informal network strength – that the curvilinear relationship may change. Using a sample of 71 project teams, the authors find that the relationship between task conflict and team performance is curvilinear relationship when teams have high expertise disparity and low informal network strength but is slightly downward the when teams with high informal network strength. Theoretical and practical implications regarding the patterns of the relationship are discussed.