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Shared mental models and perceived proximity: a comparative case study

Zamani, Efpraxia D.; Pouloudi, Nancy


Nancy Pouloudi


The aim of this study is to understand how virtual teams experience perceived proximity. Existing literature suggests that perceived proximity can be achieved through quality communication and increased identification. However, not much is known as to how these two may be achieved within the context of virtual teams.

The authors address their research question through a comparative case study, with the help of two virtual teams of software developers and the authors adopt a subset from the Constructivist Grounded Theory Method procedures for the purposes of coding to understand the potential explanations regarding the two teams' differences in perceptions of perceived proximity.

The authors’ study shows that shared mental models support quality communication and team members to identify with the shared values of their team. Quality communication is easier achieved when the team shares a dynamic and evolving understanding of the tools for communication and collaboration. The authors also draw attention to the importance of how work is organised and the influence of the temporal dimension on virtual teams beyond the temporal organisation of collaborative work.

The value of this study is found in its contribution towards the development of a formal connection between perceived proximity and shared mental models, that is empirically grounded, and which holds an explanatory value in addressing how perceived proximity can be supported rather than compromised.


Zamani, E. D., & Pouloudi, N. (2022). Shared mental models and perceived proximity: a comparative case study. Information Technology & People, 35(2), 723-749.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 3, 2021
Publication Date Mar 28, 2022
Deposit Date Oct 3, 2023
Journal Information Technology & People
Print ISSN 0959-3845
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 2
Pages 723-749
Public URL