Can’t we just get along? Team personality and conflict (IO Psychology)

Topics: Teams, Personality, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2012)
Article: Ready to rumble: How team personality composition and task conflict interact to
improve performance.
Authors: Bret H. Bradley, Anthony C. Klotz, Bennett E. Postlethwaite, & Kenneth G. Brown
Reviewed By: Aaron Manier

Team members need to get along in order to perform well. Unfortunately, we’re all different people, so sometimes conflict arises. Often this conflict arises around different takes on the team’s task. However, scientific understanding of the relationship between task conflict and effective team performance has been inconclusive.

Personality impacts team dynamics and processes. Specifically, openness to experience and emotional stability can help or hinder team communication and conflict resolution. Team members who are open to experience are generally open-minded and curious, resulting in greater adaptability and a willingness to discuss conflict openly. Members with emotional stability have a steady sense of composure and generally have a positive view of others that allows them to use others effectively in conflict resolution.

Teams with members high in emotional stability and openness to experience perform stronger in the face of task conflict than teams with members low in these personality characteristics. Because of these findings, management should consider personality when building teams for unique tasks. Employees with high levels of emotional stability and openness will be able to tackle non-routine, challenging tasks with more grace and dignity, effectively resolving task conflict as it arises.

Makes sense, right? Who wants to work with a neurotic, closed-minded team member? Unless you’re just into that kind of thing.

Bradley, B. H., Klotz, A. C., Postlethwaite, B. E., & Brown, K. G. (2012). Ready to rumble:
How team personality composition and task conflict interact to improve performance.
Journal of Applied Psychology, Advance online publication. Doi: 10.1037/a0029845

human resource management, organizational industrial psychology, organizational management



source for picture: