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Groups with a strong sense of collective efficacy set more challenging goals, persist in the face of difficulty, and are ultimately more likely to succeed than groups who do not share this belief. Given the many advantages that may accrue to groups who are confident, it would be logical to advise groups to build a high level of collective efficacy as early as possible. However, we draw on Whyte’s (1998) theory of collective efficacy and groupthink, to predict that when confidence emerges at a high level toward the beginning of a group’s existence, group members may be less likely to engage in process conflict; a form of conflict that may be beneficial in the early phase of a group project. We found support for this prediction in two longitudinal studies of classroom project teams.


Suggested Citation
Goncalo, J. A., Polman, E., & Maslach, C. (2010). Can confidence come too soon? Collective efficacy, conflict and group performance over time [Electronic version]. Retrieved [insert date] from Cornell University, ILR School site:

Required Publisher Statement
The final paper is forthcoming in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, published by Elsevier.