The "what" in top management group conflict: The effects of organizational issue interpretation on conflict among hospital decision makers

Christopher L. Shook, G. Tyge Payne, Kathleen E. Voges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Organization issues are thought to invoke different decision-making behaviors that affect the ultimate outcome of the decision. Extant research on the antecedents of conflict has focused on the demographics of the decision-making group. In contrast, this study starts with the organizational issue and examines the relationship between the interpretation of the issue and the type of conflict experienced during resolution of the issue. This relationship is important because managing conflict has been shown to be a key aspect of successful decision making within top management groups. Research findings indicate that managers should encourage cognitive conflict, which is functional, and discourage affective conflict, which is personality-based and dysfunctional. In our study of 52 hospital top management groups in three southwestern states, we found that organizational issue interpretation does impact the amount of affective and cognitive conflict experienced. Specifically, political issues are associated with both types of conflict. Additionally, we find that when the issue is interpreted as more positive, the relationship between political interpretation and cognitive conflict is diminished.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-177
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Managerial Issues
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2005


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