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Intra-functional conflict: an investigation of antecedent factors in marketing functions

Harris, Lloyd Cameron, Ogbonna, Emmanuel Okechukwu and Goode, Mark Michael Hugh 2008. Intra-functional conflict: an investigation of antecedent factors in marketing functions. European Journal of Marketing 42 (3/4) , pp. 453-476. 10.1108/03090560810853011

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Abstract

Purpose – The objective of this paper is to contribute empirical evaluation of the factors, behaviours and processes that lead to intra-functional conflict, and in so doing to contribute to theory building on these issues, which have important contemporary relevance for theorists and practitioners. Design/methodology/approach – A survey of 1,000 firms was conducted to elucidate the associations between both functional and dysfunctional intra-functional conflict and a number of intra- and extra-organisational variables. Findings – Evidence was found indicating that participative decision making (positively), heterogeneity and centrality of marketing (both negatively) are linked to functional intra-departmental conflict, while leadership quality of senior staff, team spirit and risk-taking proclivity are positively associated with functional intradepartmental conflict and negatively with dysfunctional intra-departmental conflict. No support was found for the claims that departmentalisation and organisation size were associated with either form of conflict. Research limitations/implications – The study supplies an empirical contribution through conceptualising, and subsequently empirically verifying, a model of the antecedents of intra-functional conflict. Empirical contributions stem from findings that, while some parallels exist between the antecedents of intra-functional and inter-functional conflict, differences are evident, and in some cases even orthogonal. This study further reinforces suggestions that marketers have over-emphasised the negative dimensions of conflict and have overlooked the positive (that is, the functional) aspects of conflict. Practical implications – The findings of the study also have numerous implications for practitioners. At a strategic level, the study suggests that executives should acknowledge in their change processes that decisions at an organisational level could have a profound effect on both the functional and dysfunctional conflict in their organisation. Further, given the significant effect of inter-group dynamics, managers of functions may find it beneficial to manipulate a range of intra-functional variables to enhance functional conflict. Originality/value – The value of the current study centres on the conceptual and empirical contributions regarding the drivers of intra-functional conflict.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Uncontrolled Keywords: Conflict ; Conflict management ; Conflict resolution
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 0309-0566
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2018 20:49
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/19016

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