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The Effects of Cognitive Over Affective Empathy On Team Conflict and Performance
Empathy is the ability to understand others and comes in the form of a cognitive understanding of others’ perspectives, or an affective matching of what others feel. We hypothesize that greater member cognitive empathy reduces the conflict teams experience and improves team performance. Greater affective empathy, we argue, increases conflict and reduces team effectiveness. We test our hypotheses on 624 graduate business students in 145 teams from 66 countries using a multi-wave data collection strategy. Our results support the hypothesis that cognitive empathy reduces dysfunctional conflict and improves team performance. However, we found mixed results regarding our hypothesis that affective empathy increases conflict and reduces team effectiveness and performance.