Empowering individuals for team innovation in China : conflict management and problem solving

Dean William TJOSVOLD, Ziyou YU, Peiguan WU

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Although emphases on teams and on individuals are often considered mutually exclusive, teams both rely upon individuals to perform their tasks skillfully and can support and encourage individuals to perform effectively. This study proposes that team capability to help individual team members overcome obstacles to performance facilitates the integration of individual's ideas and efforts that results in team innovation. It further suggests that managing conflict cooperatively helps teams provide effective support so that individuals solve problems and contribute. Two hundred employees in 100 work teams in China completed measures of their team's cooperative, competitive, and avoiding approaches to managing conflict and team support for problem solving by individuals, and 100 managers indicated the team's innovation. Structural equation analysis suggests that a cooperative conflict management approach promotes group support for problem solving by individuals that in turn results in team innovation. These findings, coupled with previous research, suggest that cooperative conflict management and team assistance to help individuals solve problems provide a strong foundation for innovative teams.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-205
Number of pages21
JournalNegotiation and Conflict Management Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009


  • China
  • conflict management
  • individual performance
  • team innovation


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