Transactive memory system (TMS) theory has attracted a lot of attention in
understanding expertise recognition and utilization in work teams in recent years.
However, the literature has been mainly focusing on the direct effects of TMS on team
performance, leaving the effects on other team outcomes as well as the contingent factors
of these effects largely unknown (Lewis, 2003). In addition, according to a recent review
by Kozlowski and Ilgen (2006), the literature, featuring an emerging field, needs
development on clarifying the definition of the construct and identifying antecedents that
contribute to the establishment of TMS. To address these limitations and to advance our
understandings of TMS, in this dissertation, I first clarified and synthesized the divergent
dimensions of TMS by proposing a two-higher-order-component framework, i.e. TMS
structure and TMS manifestation. Based on a revised model, I argued that TMS structure
is captured by TMS specialization, sharedness, and accuracy, and TMS manifestation
captured by TMS credibility and coordination. Using this framework, I tried to answer
three questions: (1) What relationships does TMS structure (specialization, sharedness,
accuracy) have with team outcomes (performance, innovation, commitment) and are these
relationships mediated by TMS manifestation (credibility and coordination)? (2) Do the
relationships between TMS manifestation and team outcomes differ among teams with
different task characteristics (i.e. task interdependence, task routineness, and alignment of
task assignment)? And (3) Do functional diversity, status characteristics (i.e. average
levels of task-related and non-task-related status characteristic cues), and interpersonal
connections (closeness and communication frequency) in teams predict TMS structure
and TMS manifestation?
Using a sample of 92 charter school boards and 90 school directors, I conducted
hierarchical ordinary least square (OLS) regressions. Results showed that, as predicted,
TMS credibility and coordination mediated the positive relationships between TMS
specialization and board performance and innovation rated by both the charter school
directors and the board chairs as well as board commitment. In addition, TMS credibility
mediated the positive relationships between TMS sharedness and school director-rated
board performance and innovation as well as board commitment. Also as predicted, task
interdependence moderated the relationships between TMS credibility and director- and
chair-rated performance, director-rated innovation, and board commitment such that the
positive relationships were stronger when task interdependence was high than when it
was low. Task interdependence moderated the relationships between TMS coordination
and director-rated performance and innovation and board commitment in the same
fashion. Task routineness moderated the relationships between TMS credibility and
director-rated performance and innovation such that the relationships were positive when
the tasks were highly routine and negative when the tasks were non-routine. Task
routinesness also moderated the relationships between TMS credibility and board
commitment in the same fashion as task interdependence does. The average levels of
task-related status cues positively predicted TMS specialization, the average levels of
non-task-related status cues positively predicted TMS sharedness, and both status
characteristics predicted TMS accuracy. Additionally, the levels of interpersonal v
closeness among board members were positively related to TMS accuracy as well as
TMS credibility and coordination. Contributions, practical implications, limitations and
future research are discussed.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. January 2010. Major: Human Resources and Industrial Relations. Advisors: Connie R. Wanberg, Mary E. Zellmer-Bruhn. 1 computer file (PDF); xiii, 187 pages, appendices A-C.
Utilizing expertise in work teams: the role of transactive memory systems..
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