Group communication and conflict management in an electronic medium

Bolanle A. Olaniran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study aims to explore the use of a Computer-mediated Communication (CMC) system in-group conflict management, with specific attention directed toward analyzing the task effect on conflict management patterns of groups in CMC interaction. Design/methodology/approach: Two tasks are used in experimental design to analyze interactions and conflict management patterns within e-mail communication environment. Group composition and communication medium were kept constant. The group working relations coding system (GWRCS) was used to examine group interaction patterns that characterize the conflict management process. Findings: The results demonstrate that task type influences the group conflict management process and the extent to which a group employs different levels of confrontiveness strategy in its interaction and conflict management patterns. Specifically, intellective task conflict is best handled by a high confrontiveness while cognitive task conflict is best handled by a moderate confrontiveness strategy. Research limitations/implications: The study used small group size and did not take into account variation in group size. Thus, the degree to which a larger size groups might affect the results is unknown. The study showed that group effectiveness requires different conflict management and interaction patterns for different tasks even within the same communication medium. Originality/value: The study outlined the importance of task types in conflict management within the same group and within the same communication technology. It also stressed the fact that individuals apply technology differently to negotiate conflict based on tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-69
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • Communication
  • Conflict management
  • Electronic mail
  • Electronic media
  • Group work


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