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Does distance matter? On geographical dispersion in organisations
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
1999 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the discussion on organisations and organisational form, several concepts have appeared to denote what is said to be new organisational forms. These concepts many times imply a geographical dispersion of organisations. The changes to organisational structure-and notably geographical dispersion-are often seen as enabled by developments in information and communication technology (ICT), developments providing us with tools that make it possible to communicate and handle information over geographical distances "better" and more "efficiently" than ever before. Thus, it is implied that distance is dead or at least losing in importance for organisations.

In this thesis, however, it is contended that distance is still an important concept and the aim of the thesis is to gain an understanding of the possible importance of geographical distance for the design and management of organisations. More specifically, it focuses on how different communication modes-basically face-to-face as compared to technology-mediated communication-affect the process of organising. This is discussed both on a general level and with a special focus on the role and work of managers.

It is concluded that distance is still a very important fact in organisational life. Basically, this is because social interaction through technology differs in fundamental ways from social interaction face-to-face. Even if many tasks can be handled through technology-mediated communication if considered in isolation, the picture changes when all tasks are considered simultaneously and over time. Then the necessity of having shared frames and a common set of significant symbols and the difficulties involved in creating, recreating, and maintaining these via technology imposes a lower limit on the amount of face-to-face interaction necessary.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 1999. , 45 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 567
National Category
Computer Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-35753Local ID: 28430ISBN: 91-7219-439-1OAI: diva2:256601
Public defence
1999-05-18, Seminarierum Belöningen, Hus B, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (Swedish)

Papers, included in the Ph.D. thesis, are not registered and included in the posts from 1999 and backwards.

Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2013-02-21

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Lindström, Jörgen
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Department of Computer and Information ScienceThe Institute of Technology
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