Team member proximity and teamwork in innovative projects

Innovation teams vary in terms of team members’ proximity, i.e., the degree to which all team members are in direct vicinity over the duration of the project. The proximity of team members, however, has potentially important implications for the collaborative working of teams. In this paper, we develop and test hypotheses relating team members’ proximity to the performance-relevant team collaborative processes included in Hoegl and Gemuenden’s [Organization Science 12 (4) (2001) 435] teamwork quality framework, i.e., communication, coordination, balance of member contributions, mutual support, effort, and cohesion. Using data from 430 team members and team leaders of 145 software development teams, the results of the regression models show that team members’ proximity is significantly related to teamwork quality. However, the magnitude of the relationship between proximity and teamwork quality varies among the six facets of teamwork quality. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Bocconi University, Institute of Organization and Information Systems, and SDA Bocconi School of Management, Viale Isonzo 23, 20135 Milano, Italy
Available online 27 September 2004