An Investigation of the Conflict Triggering Process in Intercollegiate Athletic Departments

in Journal of Sport Management
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The purpose of this study was to investigate factors that moderate the association between substantive task and process conflicts and personal relationship conflict within Canadian intercollegiate athletic departments. The sample population was administrative office personnel in those departments (i.e., directors, managers, and support staff). Based on previous research and tenets of affective events theory, task participation, trust, cohesion, value dissimilarity, and negative affect were hypothesized to influence the likelihood that task and process conflict would trigger relationship conflict. Trust and value dissimilarity were found to significantly moderate the association between task conflict and further relationship conflict. The findings advance theory with regard to mechanisms that reduce negative conflict and enhance our understanding of intragroup conflict in intercollegiate athletics. Implications for research and practice are presented.

Kerwin is with the Dept. of Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Doherty is with The School of Kinesiology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.

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