What is it about?

We often assess transactive memory systems (TMS) by having participants fill out a survey about the extent to which people in the team have different specializations, trust one another, and coordinate well. In this paper, I compare this assessment technique with assessing knowledge-based indicators of TMS: how much do people know in the team, do they know different things, and do they know what each other know. I find that these two ways of assessing TMS are similar, but capture different variance in group performance.

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Why is it important?

TMS is a really exciting area and this paper suggests we could be missing out on how important TMS is in understanding group performance. Knowledge-based measures of TMS don't have to be hard to measure and I demonstrate that they are important in understanding group performance.


I have been interested in how TMS is measured since I started as a grad student in 2010. In interacting with people from other disciplines, it was often tricky to explain what a TMS is and how we measure it because the two are fairly different. I always had these issues in mind as I completed other projects, insisting that we include knowledge-based measure of TMS in out group studies. This paper helps fill that gap, demonstrating that a measure of the knowledge that makes up a TMS is very related to the behavioral indicators of TMS (while also explaining important characteristics of the group).

Jonathan Kush
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

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This page is a summary of: Conceptual and measurement issues for transactive memory systems: The indicators of TMS., Group Dynamics Theory Research and Practice, May 2019, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/gdn0000101.
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