The antecedents and consequence of functional and dysfunctional conflict between Marketing Managers and Sales Managers

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Industrial Marketing Management, 2007, 36 (8), pp. 1118 - 1129
Issue Date:
2007-11-01
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Focusing on the working relationship between Marketing Managers and Sales Managers, our study examines two dimensions of interpersonal conflict: dysfunctional conflict and functional conflict. Drawing on relevant theory, we include three communication variables - frequency, bidirectionality, and quality - as antecedents in our structural model. Using these explanatory variables we predict the two conflict dimensions, and in turn, use these same three communication variables, and the two conflict dimensions to predict our ultimate endogenous variable - perceived relationship effectiveness. Overall, our model has high explanatory power, and we find support for nine of the thirteen hypotheses. More specifically, two of the three communication variables - communication quality and bidirectionality - significantly impact on both forms of conflict, and relationship effectiveness, though communication frequency only influenced the quality of communication between the Marketing Managers and the Sales Managers. In addition, the variables in our model better predict the levels of functional conflict in the Marketing/Sales relationship than dysfunctional conflict. Finally, an important new finding in this research is that the overall level of dysfunctional conflict between these two functional managers is relatively low, while functional conflict is high. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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