What is Your Team's Closeness Factor?

An Exploration of Cumulative Proximity


  • Tom Coughlan Mercy College School of Business


Proximity is a significant factor is the efficacy of a team, and the teams ability to be innovative. This article explores the concept of Cumulative Proximity; which is a theory that contends that proximity is more than geographic, and is driven by the the amount and quality of interaction between team members. More over it builds on the theory of Virtual Proximity in that it see proximity more as an emotional state than a physical state, and it applies the concept of Cumulative Proximity to the Return to Office (RTO) movement currently under way in American business.

Author Biography

Tom Coughlan, Mercy College School of Business

Dr. Coughlan is currently an Associate Professor of Graduate Business and former Associate Dean at Mercy College School of Business. In addition, he is the Managing Editor of the Journal of Management and Innovation, a contract writer for Harvard Business Publishing, and holds or has held adjunct faculty positions at the Sacred Heart University, University of Phoenix School of Business, the European School of Economics, Manhattan Institute of Management, University of Bridgeport, and the Weller International Business School in Paris.

His fields of practice include management, marketing, and innovation with a particular emphasis on the use of technology to create virtual proximity and increase levels of applied innovation within an organization.

In addition to his academic accomplishments, Dr. Coughlan has over 30 years of business experience as an entrepreneur, consultant, and a marketing / management professional. His past roles include:

- Member of the leadership team of a top 50 INC 500 firm where he ran the most profitable division

- Developed successful worldwide marketing campaigns for some of the worlds largest technology companies including IBM, Cisco, Computer Associates, and Oracle

- Extensive experience in commercial real estate, and professional service marketing

- Extensive original research in the fields of innovation and virtual proximity

- Currently working on a book on managing remote employees