Beyond Being There: The Symbolic Role of Communication and Identification in the Emergence of Perceived Proximity in Geographically Dispersed Work
AbstractWe develop the concept of perceived proximity, understood as a symbolic representation of one’s faraway coworkers. We build on Wilson et al.(2008), present new validated measures of perceived proximity, and compare how perceived proximity and objective distance relate to relationship outcomes between geographically dispersed work colleagues. Our results show strong support for a symbolic view of work relationships. Indeed, it is the symbolic meaning of proximity and not physical proximity itself that affects relationship outcomes. Also, the symbolic meaning of proximity is defined not by physical proximity, but by people’s sense of shared identity and by their use of (mostly synchronous) communication media. Furthermore, we find that how the sense of proximity is symbolically constructed mediates the effects of communication and identity on relationship outcomes.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School in its series ESSEC Working Papers with number WP1112.
Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Proximity; distance; geographically dispersed work; virtual work; teams; relationships;
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- M. Lynne Markus & Daniel Robey, 1988. "Information Technology and Organizational Change: Causal Structure in Theory and Research," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(5), pages 583-598, May.
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