The Effects of Operational Managers' Behaviors on Team Members: Task and Relationship Conflict, Role Clarity, and Leader-Member Exchange
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The topic of leaderships' effect on team members has been the focus of research, including role theory, leader-member exchange (LMX), and social identity. Operational managers were moved between teams to gain experience. Over the years, the organization investigated in this study moved from authoritarian leadership to a more collaborative style. Operational managers' formal training included technical expertise, but training for interpersonal skills did not keep pace. The objective of this study was to explore the effects of managers' behaviors on team members, task and relationship conflict, and role clarity on team performance. The research methodology chosen for this study was a qualitative method using an exploratory case study as the research design. Ten participants were selected using the purposive approach, followed by one-on-one interviews to discuss factors impacting the relationship between the operational managers and team members. Each participant was assigned a pseudonym. Data collection was conducted through individual and open-ended semistructured interviews. Data analysis was conducted cross-case to determine conceptual categories that led to the emergence of three themes: Effects of Role Clarity, Constructive Task Conflict, and Factors Affecting Task and Relationship Conflict. The results of the data analysis led to recommendations: (a) increased awareness of operational managers’ behaviors on members, both positive and negative to mitigate or enhance the effect; (b) determine balance between enough and too much role documentation and the quality of existing documentation to determine what actions to take; and (c) investigate the cause of relationship conflict promptly to determine cause so it can be addressed appropriately. Future research could delve into (a) the effects of union culture on members and the efficacy of operational managers; (b) deeper analysis into the factors of LMX, role clarity, and social identity to understand which approaches are most beneficial to the operational managers; (c) how the use of ingroup and out-group attitudes affect the combination of LMX, role clarity and social identity; and (d) how operational managers' personality and preferences affect their choices about approaching conflict.