We investigate the antecedents of conflict on collocated as compared with geographically distributed teams. In our field study of 16 collocated and 20 geographically distributed research and development teams, we found little evidence that distributed teams have more conflict. However, we did find that distributed teams experienced more coordination problems and less healthy conflict handling norms which were, in turn, associated with more conflict. Contrary to our predictions, neither frequency of communication nor reliance on mediating technologies were related to increased affective or task conflict. Our findings suggest that the frequency of communication and the medium used may be less important than the content of the information that flows between group members and the groupís ability to speak openly and deal with conflict as it arises.
Hinds, Pamela and Mortensen, Mark, "Understanding Antecedents to Conflict in Geographically Distributed Research and Development Teams" (2002). ICIS 2002 Proceedings. 38.