TMT Diversity, CEO Procedural Fairness, and TMT Conflict
Smith, Ken G.
Tesluk, Paul E.
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The purpose of this dissertation was to address three research questions: (1) What are the antecedent conditions that contribute to the development of conflict within TMTs? (2) how can TMTs develop constructive conflict profiles - those that simultaneously have relatively high levels of cognitive conflict but low levels of or little affective conflict? and (3) how does TMT conflict relate to firm performance? Two complementary studies were conducted to enhance both the internal validity and the generalizability of this research: an experimental study of 77 project teams with senior business-major undergraduates at a US-based university, and an in-depth field study of 61 TMTs of US-based high-technology firms. The consistent results from both studies revealed that: (1) TMT informational diversity was positively related to TMT cognitive conflict, however, TMT power centralization was negatively related to TMT cognitive conflict; (2) TMTs with higher levels of CEO procedural fairness were more likely to report constructive conflict profiles; and (3) TMT affective conflict was detrimental to firm performance. Contributions to the literature, methodology and managerial practices, and limitation and future research directions were discussed.