Abstract

Entrepreneurial teams frequently experience conflicts (Forbes, et al., 2010), but these conflicts can have different effects. Thus, research (Jehn, 1995) differentiates between relationship conflict, conflict related to interpersonal tensions which reduces member satisfaction, team performance (Amason, 1996) and, subsequently, venture performance (Ensley, et al., 2002) and task conflict which refers to disagreements about the task and is considered beneficial for team performance (Amason, 1996).

This study investigates members’ negative affective reactions to conflict in entrepreneurial tasks. Negative affect entails negative consequences for entrepreneurial teams because it limits creativity (Hirt, et al., 1997), cooperation (George, 1990), and decision making performance (Staw & Barsade, 1993). We argue that relationship conflict increases negative affect, whereas task conflict decreases it. Further, we investigate two potential moderators: information uncertainty and group potency – a team’s belief that it can be effective (Guzzo, et al., 1993). Drawing on attributional theory of emotion (Weiner, 1985) we postulate that the reduced feelings of responsibility connected to higher levels of uncertainty and lower levels of group potency will reduce the impact of both conflict types.

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