Reaching for the Moon: Expanding Transactive Memory’s Reach with Wikis and Tagging

Reaching for the Moon: Expanding Transactive Memory’s Reach with Wikis and Tagging

Mark B. Allan (NASA Ames Research Center, USA), Anthony A. Korolis (IBM Corporation, USA) and Terri L. Griffith (Santa Clara University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-555-1.ch010


Transactive memory systems (TMS) support knowledge sharing and coordination in groups. TMS are enabled by the encoding, storage, retrieval, and communication of knowledge by domain experts—knowing who knows what. The NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group provides an example of how TMS theoretical boundaries are stretched in actual use. This group is characterized as being highly innovative as they routinely engage in field studies that are inherently difficult due to time and technology resource constraints. We provide an expanded view of TMS that includes the technology support system available to this group, and possible further extensions to NASA’s or other such dynamic groups’ practice.
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Transactive Memory: A Foundation For Successful Team Work

Organizational knowledge is useful to the extent that knowledge is high quality, transfers across users, and is used in a coordinated fashion—for example, when team process knowledge supports the link between task knowledge and performance outcomes (Griffith & Sawyer, 2007; Griffith, Sawyer, & Neale, 2003; Haas & Hansen, 2007; Reagans, Argote, & Brooks, 2005). In this context, task knowledge is knowledge about the task at hand while process knowledge is about how to apply that task knowledge toward performance. Transactive memory, a type of process knowledge, is a team’s way of knowing who knows what and how to coordinate as a result (Wegner, 1987). Transactive memory is a powerful force in team performance and provides our focus here (Kanawattanachai & Yoo, 2007; Lewis, 2004).

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