Intrateam conflict can be defined as the process emerging from perceived incompatibilities or differences among team members.
In the past, two types of intragroup conflict were distinguished: relationship conflict and task conflict. Later on, evidence was found for a third type: process conflict.
- Relationship conflicts involve disagreements among team members about interpersonal issues, such as personality differences or differences in norms and values.
- Task conflicts entail disagreements about the content and outcomes of the task being performed.
- Process conflicts are disagreements among team members about the logistics of task accomplishment, such as the delegation of tasks and responsibilities.
- Traditionally, team conflicts were regarded as a hindrance to effective team functioning.
- However, years and years of research have shown that relationship conflicts and process conflicts in particular have clear negative consequences for organizational success. Task-related conflicts, on the other hand, can – under the right circumstances - promote organizational success as they induce people to reconsider their suggestions, generate a variety of perspectives, and lead to more creativity and facilitate innovativeness. They can prevent premature consensus and stimulate more critical thinking.