Interpersonal goal conflict in teams leads to team conflict and disrupts group flow – an experimental study

Publikation: Beitrag in Buch/Bericht/KonferenzbandKonferenzbeitrag - Abstract in KonferenzbandForschungBegutachtung


A specific kind of intragroup conflict (LaVoi, 2007) is interpersonal goal conflict. Interpersonal goal conflict occurs when the pursuits of at least one group member interfere with the pursuits of other group members (Fitzsimons et al., 2016). The purpose of this study is to examine if interpersonal goal conflict has an impact on general team conflict and group flow. Twenty-eight male sport students (Mage = 22.61 years; SD = 3.39 years; preliminary data based on a half of the planned sample) were randomly assigned to an experimental group (EG) or a control group (CG). In both conditions, participants acted in a team of three, consisting of two real subjects and one confederate. The goal was for the team of three to maintain a cadence as similar as possible for three minutes on a bicycle ergometer. Interpersonal goal conflict was induced in the EG via goal incongruent behavior of the confederate changing the cadence after 30 seconds, preventing the achievement of the team goal, mimicking a solo task. After the task, scales for team conflict (Jehn, 1995) and group flow (Pels & Kleinert, 2023) were completed by the participants. Independent samples t-tests were conducted (EG vs. CG). Team conflict in the EG was perceived significantly higher (t(26) = 2.92 p = .004, d = 1.11) and group flow significantly lower (t(26) = -4.095, p < .001, d = -1.56) compared to the CG. Team conflict and group flow were significantly negatively correlated (r(26) = -.43, p = .021). The study shows that interpersonal goal conflict through goal incongruent behavior by an individual leads to increased perception of team conflict and decreased perception of group flow. Therefore, individual goals should be taken into account when managing team goals in sports teams. Failure to do so could lead to increased perception of deviant behavior.
TitelMethodenvielfalt: Lebendigkeit in Theorie & Praxis.: 56. Jahrestagung der Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Sportpsychologie (asp).
Herausgeber*innenDirk Koester, Lina Krämer, Leonard Fuhlert, Jannik Everding, Fritz Weilharter, Andreas Marlovits
ISBN (elektronisch)978-3-00-078882-6
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2024