The Development of Transactive Memory Systems in Multi-cultural Teams: The Role of Lay Theories

By Kay Yoon.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The transactive memory systems theory has been a useful tool to explain the processes and outcomes of knowledge sharing in teams. However, the theory has been applied primarily to culturally homogeneous teams and has not addressed unique challenges that multi-cultural work teams face in the development of transactive memory systems. The current research theorizes how multi-cultural teams can develop accurate transactive memory systems and in turn improve their knowledge sharing processes and outcomes. By adopting the research on lay theories in person perceptions, it argues that the incremental view (vis-à-vis the entity view) may have positive impact on both processes (expertise recognition, task coordination, and communication) and outcomes (task performance and socio-emotional experiences) of knowledge sharing in multi-cultural teams. A conceptual framework drawn from both transactive memory systems theory and lay theories offers testable hypotheses for future research and present theoretical and practical implications for multi-cultural work teams.

Keywords: Multi-cultural Teams, Knowledge Sharing, Transactive Memory

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp.169-182. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 649.504KB).

Kay Yoon

Assistant Professor, College of Communication, DePaul University, Chicago, IL, USA

Kay Yoon (Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is Assistant Professor in College of Communication at DePaul University. Her research interests are in teams and group dynamics, particularly how teams recognize, share, and use their members’ knowledge in task performance. Her recent investigations examined expertise recognition processes in both culturally homogeneous and heterogeneous teams. She teaches small group communication, group decision making, teams and diversity, and organizational communication.


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