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Operational proximity

23 March 2009

Derek Thomson

Can be physical proximity, but more importantly – cognitive / attitudinal proximity.

Operational proximity happens when

– people share the same physical space and

– share ownership of the same problem

you need both for operational proximity to occur.

Operational proximity introduces different points of view to a problem.  This “differentiation” happens easily in organisations because they form themselves into informal social groups (cliques??)

Differentiation happens when different groups have “Cognitive Separation” (Lorch) – i.e. a different point of view on the problem.

See Tagliaventi and Mattarelli (2006) – Human Relations J.

A barrier to operational proximity is “cognitive separation”

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