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Beyond Being There: The Symbolic Role of Communication and Identification in the Emergence of Perceived Proximity in Geographically Dispersed Work

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Author Info

  • Michael Boyer O'leary

    (Chercheur Indépendant - Aucune)

  • Anca Metiu

    (Management Department - ESSEC Business School)

  • Jeanne M. Wilson

    (Chercheur Indépendant - Aucune)

Abstract

We 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 Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number hal-00661000.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00661000

Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://hal-essec.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00661000
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Related research

Keywords: Proximity ; distance ; geographically dispersed work ; virtual work ; teams ; relationships;

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  1. Jonathon N. Cummings, 2004. "Work Groups, Structural Diversity, and Knowledge Sharing in a Global Organization," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(3), pages 352-364, March.
  2. 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.
  3. Gabriele Paolacci & Jesse Chandler & Panagiotis G. Ipeirotis, 2010. "Running experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 5(5), pages 411-419, August.
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