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Functional and dysfunctional conflict in the context of marketing and sales

By Graham R Massey & Philip L Dawes Working Paper Series 2004

Number ISSN Number

WP009/04 1363-6839

Professor Philip L Dawes
Professor of Marketing University of Wolverhampton, UK Tel: +44 (0) 1902 323700 Email: P.Dawes@wlv.ac.uk

Functional and dysfunctional interpersonal conflict in the context of marketing and sales

Copyright © University of Wolverhampton 2004

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, photocopied, recorded, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the copyright holder.

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Functional and dysfunctional interpersonal conflict in the context of marketing and sales

Abstract
Focusing on the working relationship between marketing managers and sales managers, our study examines two dimensions of interpersonal conflict: dysfunctional conflict and functional conflict. Accordingly, this research contrasts with the vast majority of previous studies of conflict in marketing’s cross-functional relationships which have only examined dysfunctional conflict, a negative psychosocial outcome. Drawing on the relevant theory, we include three communication variables (communication frequency, bidirectionality, and communication quality) and two organisational structure variables (centralisation and formalisation) as antecedents in our model. And, using the same set of independent variables to predict the two conflict dimensions, we find support for eight of the ten hypotheses. Though both regression models had high explanatory power, we explained functional conflict better than dysfunctional conflict. As predicted, all three communication variables were significant in both models. However, of the two organisational structure variables, only formalisation was significant. An important, but somewhat surprising finding is that the overall level of dysfunctional conflict between these two functional managers is relatively low.

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Functional and dysfunctional interpersonal conflict in the context of marketing and sales

The authors
Professor Philip L Dawes Philip Dawes is Professor of Marketing at the Business School of Wolverhampton University. His research interests include industrial marketing, organisational buyer behaviour, high-technology marketing in business markets, marketing organisation, and services marketing. Graham R Massey Graham Massey is a Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. His research interests include marketing organisation, relationship marketing, new product development, and product life cycle theory.

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Functional and dysfunctional interpersonal conflict in the context of marketing and sales

Functional and dysfunctional interpersonal conflict in the context of marketing and sales Introduction
Cross-functional integration requires employees from different departments to interact, and exchange work, resources, and assistance (Ruekert & Walker, 1987a). These repeated interactions are known as 'cross-functional relationships' (CFRs) and are important aspects of internal marketing (e.g. Ballantyne, 1997), and market orientation (e.g. Kohli & Jaworski, 1990). Also, because Marketing is a key function responsible for NPD, and customer satisfaction, CFRs are of great...
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