Though geographically distributed teams are rapidly increasing in prevalence, empirical research examining the effect of distance on group process has not kept pace. In a study of 24 product development teams located within five companies, we attempt to bridge the gap between research and practice by comparing the amount of affective and task conflict reported in collocated versus geographically distributed teams. We further examine how conflict is impacted by shared team identity, cultural heterogeneity, and reliance on technology for communication. As hypothesized, shared team identity was associated with less task conflict within distributed, but not collocated teams. Similar effects were found for affective conflict, suggesting that a shared identity may help distributed teams to better manage conflict. Our results also suggest more task conflict on teams that rely heavily on technology to mediate their communications. In examining performance, we found some support for our hypothesis that conflict would be more detrimental for distributed than collocated teams.
Mortensen, M. and Hinds, P. (2001), "CONFLICT AND SHARED IDENTITY IN GEOGRAPHICALLY DISTRIBUTED TEAMS", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 212-238. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb022856Download as .RIS
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