Types of conflict

Conflict theorists agree that there are two major types of conflicts although they label them in different ways. In 1980 Deutsch labeled them cooperative versus competitive. Jehn (1995, 1997) labels two types of conflict as task and relationship conflicts. In 1996 Amason et al. defined these types of conflict as “effective” and “cognitive” and in 1999 Van de Vlier et al. further redefined these types as “task” and “person” conflict. Meanwhile, Sheppard (1992) criticized the multiplicity of terms that were being used to describe types of conflict and the needless confusion that this caused. In addition another conflict research has identified four main levels of conflict in the context of human behavior and relationship as summarized by Lewecki et al.(2003):Intergrouped conflicts between groups of individual. Intragrouped conflicts, arising within smaller groups. Interpersonal conflict, that is conflict at an individual level. Lastly, Intrapersonal conflicts, where occurs in one’s own mind. Despite differences in labels, the classification describes essentially identical characteristics.

Amason et al. (1996) differentiate the effective conflict as social-emotional that lowers decision quality, reduces performance and satisfaction while cognitive conflict being task related that enhances decision quality and overall group performance.


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