Perceived Proximity in Virtual Work: Explaining the Paradox of Far-But-Close

Organization Studies, Vol. 29, No. 7, pp. 979-1002, 2008

26 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2011

See all articles by Jeanne M. Wilson

Jeanne M. Wilson

College of William and Mary - Mason School of Business

Michael Boyer O'Leary

Georgetown University - Department of Management

Anca Metiu

INSEAD - Organisational Behavior

Quintus Jett

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

One’s colleagues can be situated in close physical proximity, yet seem quite distant. Conversely, one’s colleagues can be quite far away in objective terms, yet seem quite close. In this paper, we explore this paradoxical phenomenon of feeling close to geographically distant colleagues and propose a model of perceived proximity (a dyadic and asymmetric construct which reflects one person’s perception of how close or how far another person is). The model shows how communication and social identification processes, as well as certain individual and socio-organizational factors, affect feelings of proximity. The aim is to broaden organizational studies’ theoretical understandings of proximity to include the subjective perception of it. By shifting the focus from objective to perceived proximity, we believe that scholars can resolve many conflicting findings regarding dispersed work. By understanding what leads to perceived proximity, we also believe that managers can achieve many of the benefits of collocation without actually having employees work in one place.

Keywords: distance, virtual, distributed work, teams, perceived proximity

Suggested Citation

Wilson, Jeanne M. and O'Leary, Michael Boyer and Metiu, Anca and Jett, Quintus, Perceived Proximity in Virtual Work: Explaining the Paradox of Far-But-Close (2008). Organization Studies, Vol. 29, No. 7, pp. 979-1002, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1739921

Jeanne M. Wilson

College of William and Mary - Mason School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States

Michael Boyer O'Leary (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Department of Management ( email )

3700 O Street, NW
Washington, NY 20057
United States
202-687-9257 (Phone)

Anca Metiu

INSEAD - Organisational Behavior ( email )

Finance area, Boulevard de Constance
Fontainebleau 77305
France
(33) (0)1 60 72 41 77 (Phone)
(33) (0)1 60 74 55 00/01 (Fax)

Quintus Jett

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
115
Abstract Views
822
rank
279,596
PlumX Metrics