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

Michael Boyer O'Leary, Anca Metiu and Jeanne M. Wilson
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Michael Boyer O'Leary: Chercheur indépendant
Jeanne M. Wilson: Chercheur indépendant

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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.

Keywords: Proximity; distance; geographically dispersed work; virtual work; teams; relationships (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011-01-01
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-essec.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00661000
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Published in 2011

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Working Paper: Beyond Being There: The Symbolic Role of Communication and Identification in the Emergence of Perceived Proximity in Geographically Dispersed Work (2011) Downloads
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