The Role of Task and Process Conflict in Strategizing

Le, J. K. & Jarzabkowski, P. (2014). The Role of Task and Process Conflict in Strategizing. British Journal of Management, 26(3), pp. 439-462. doi: 10.1111/1467-8551.12076

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Abstract

The implementation of strategic initiatives is central to organizational success because it involves not just the execution of strategy, but also the formulation of strategy content. Yet, strategy implementation is complex, partially because it is critically affected by human dynamics. These dynamics are an integral but poorly understood aspect of how organizations negotiate multiple goals. Conflict is one dynamic that has received little attention in the context of strategy implementation. The authors address this gap by studying task and process conflict as a firm implements a strategy in real time. The study demonstrates that process conflict directs attention to problems with how to implement a strategy, while task conflict directs attention to problems with the content of the strategy. Critically, however, managers can only harness generative effects of conflict if they correctly diagnose process and task conflict, and respond to both forms of conflict. This requires an understanding of the entwined nature of task and process conflict, and highlights the necessity of aligning responses to these forms of conflict. Thus, this study offers conflict as one explanatory mechanism of how actors execute strategy and clarify strategy content.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Le, J. K. & Jarzabkowski, P. (2014). The Role of Task and Process Conflict in Strategizing. British Journal of Management, 26(3), pp. 439-462, which has been published in final form at http:/dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12076. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Divisions: Cass Business School > Faculty of Management
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/4009

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