How Management Teams Can Have a Good Fight

by Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Jean L. Kahwajy, and L.J. Bourgeois III

TOP MANAGERS ARE OFTEN STYMIED by the difficulties of managing conflict. They know that conflict over issues is natural and even necessary. Reasonable people, making decisions under conditions of uncertainty, are likely to have honest disagreements over the best path for their company’s future. Management teams whose members challenge one another’s thinking develop a more complete understanding of the choices, create a richer range of options, and ultimately make the kinds of effective decisions necessary in today’s competitive environments.

But, unfortunately, healthy conflict can quickly turn unproductive. A comment meant as a substantive ...

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