When the SUIT Fits: Constructive Controversy Training in Face‐to‐Face and Virtual Teams


One of the major reasons organizations have turned to work teams is because challenges are too complex, and too large in scope, for any single individual to address. As a result, teams must engage in information sharing, exchange, and processing that optimize the use of each team member's knowledge. Accordingly, we invoked a framework called SUIT, based on the theory of constructive controversy, that teaches teams to effectively share, understand, integrate, and make team decisions. We also considered whether a training program developed in accordance with the SUIT principles has stronger effects for virtual teams (VTs) relative to face‐to‐face (FtF) teams, given that VTs tend to need more information sharing and decision‐making support. Using a fully crossed and balanced experimental design, we found that teams receiving SUIT training reported greater constructive controversy levels and, in turn, higher objective task performance. The communication medium did not moderate this effect.

Keywords: virtual teams, conflict, training, teamwork, constructive controversy




Published on
26 Feb 2019
Peer Reviewed