Joshua Marineau, Assistant Professor of Management, co-authored a paper titled, “Multiplex Conflict: Examining the Effects of Overlapping Task and Relationship Conflict on Advice-Seeking in Organizations". The paper has been accepted for publication in Journal of Business and Psychology. Josh has been research-active in the domains of organization behavior and social networks.
Multiplex Conflict: Examining the Effects of Overlapping Task and Relationship Conflict on Advice-Seeking in Organizations
Purpose – This study examines the extent to which multiplex conflict relationships, or those infused with both relationship and task conflict, are related to employee decisions regarding from whom to seek advice at work.
Design/methodology/approach – Data were gathered from 75 employees in a medium-sized life sciences firm in the US Midwest and analyzed using social networks analysis.
Findings - Findings demonstrate that although employees were less likely to seek advice from someone with whom they experienced relationship conflict, employees were more likely to seek advice from those with whom they experienced task conflict. Moreover, advice was still sought from those with whom both forms of conflict were present simultaneously.
Implications – The current study demonstrates that employees are willing to seek advice from those with whom there is task conflict despite the simultaneous presence of relationship conflict. Compared to relationships free of relationship conflict (e.g., friendships), those characterized by multiplex conflicts provide greater access to others with divergent perspectives while also reducing the need for advice seekers to invest resources towards the protection and maintenance of the positive affective portion of the relationship.
Originality/value – Although much of the focus of conflict research has been directed towards intragroup task and relationship conflict, our multiplex social networks approach provides a unique opportunity to explore the effects on advice seeking stemming from the co-occurrence of these distinct types of conflict within the same employee dyad. In doing so, we contribute to the continuing debate regarding the primacy of affective or cognitive concerns in judgment and behavior.