Intragroup Conflict Under the Microscope: Micro‐Conflicts in Naturalistic Team Discussions

  • Susannah B. F. Paletz
  • Christian D. Schunn
  • Kevin H. Kim


We argue for the value of examining micro‐conflicts, brief moment‐by‐moment disagreements in conversations, and present a test of a coding scheme for this construct. Conceptualized and measured as such, micro‐conflicts are brief rather than long‐lasting behaviors, observational rather than self‐report, and do not rely on participant retrospection. Using video data from naturalistic multidisciplinary teams, we examined type of micro‐conflicts, micro‐conflict resolution, affect, and the effect of team characteristics. Logistic regression revealed that negative affect was uncommon for micro‐conflicts but still negatively related to micro‐conflict resolution. Process micro‐conflicts were more prevalent early in teams’ life cycles and in groups that experienced more obstacles and frustrations. Future research using this micro‐behavioral construct can link immediate cognitive and affective consequences and antecedents to these micro‐disagreements. It is possible that micro‐conflicts, as minute behaviors, may be less emotionally intense and more easily resolved and thus have different implications, predictors, and correlates than macro‐, self‐reported conflicts.

Keywords: measurement, affect, teams, field study, conflict

How to Cite:

Paletz, S. & Schunn, C. & Kim, K., (2011) “Intragroup Conflict Under the Microscope: Micro‐Conflicts in Naturalistic Team Discussions”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 4(4), 314-351. doi:

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Published on
16 Oct 2011
Peer Reviewed