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).

Assistant Professor Jonathan Kush
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Read the Original

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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