Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Conflict, Team

Major Advisor

John E. Mathieu

Associate Advisor

Travis J. Grosser

Associate Advisor

Yuntao Dong

Associate Advisor

Margaret M. Luciano

Field of Study

Business Administration


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Team conflict literature has advanced to investigate differential effects of different types (task-, relationship-, and process conflict) on group processes and outcomes. However, our understanding is limited as team conflict has been mostly studied as a holistic, static state based on members’ perceptions, without considering the behavioral aspect of conflict relations among members. To address these issues, I propose a process model of conflict relations, where the focus is upon the continuous dyadic behavioral manifestations of conflict along with task relations. Based on this new perspective, this dissertation aims to decipher (1) how conflict emerges from prior member relations and task appointments; (2) how conflict evolves - by investigating micro-dynamics of conflict behaviors and their relations to members’ perceptions; and (3) how types and directionalities of conflict (between members) may impact evolving task outcomes. A mixed and multi-method approach was used to test these hypotheses in the context of a set of high-fidelity live-actor simulated mass casualty incident emergency medical response exercises. More specifically, this study follows a sequential mixed design, where a qualitative study was used for grounding the theory and hypotheses in the study setting, and a quantitative study was used to test the hypotheses in a controlled yet realistic simulation environment. In addition, multiple methods, including surveys, unobtrusive measurements (i.e., video coding and audio recording), and interviews were employed to capture the ongoing dynamics of conflict and task relations in a task environment where team memberships morph over time. Four sets of hierarchical cross-classified analyses revealed that (1) prior relations and task interdependencies uniquely predict the emergence of conflict behaviors; (2) conflict behaviors evolve over time and the way they are expressed is a key moderator to shape those changes; (3) conflict experiences of senders and receivers generate conflict perceptions differently; and (4) conflict behaviors have real-time ramifications in terms of task outcomes (i.e., patient care). Taken together, this dissertation contributes to the understanding of conflict dynamics and suggests important theoretical and practical implications.

Available for download on Monday, April 23, 2029