The influence of an individual’s transactive memory profile when advice is sought

Bohle Carbonell, Katerina; Rienties, Bart and Van den Bossche, Piet (2011). The influence of an individual’s transactive memory profile when advice is sought. In: Van den Bossche, Piet; Gijselaers, Wim H. and Milter, Richard G. eds. Building Learning Experiences in a Changing World. Advances in Business Education and Training (3). Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 267–283.




Recently the construct of transactive memory systems (TMSs) has been the focus in a number of studies. The TMS provides a group of people with an expertise map and processes to retrieve information from the most reliable source in a timely fashion. While most research has analysed the factors behind the creation of a TMS, a few have looked into characteristics, which analyse the retrieval of information from a TMS in real life teams. These studies reveal that factors related to the awareness of other’s expertise and its importance for team members to accomplish work related tasks play a role when seeking advice. However, individual factors, which have an impact on knowledge sharing behaviour, were not included in these studies. For this reason, this study places the TMS within a wider framework to analyse the impact of individual factors on information search from the TMS. To analyse the impact of individual factors on the frequency of information search, two teams were analysed. A survey was conducted to create scores representing the awareness team members have of each other’s expertise, how important they judge this knowledge to accomplish their tasks and how extravert each team member is. Those individual characteristics were combined to create a TMS profile for each participant. Subsequently, the influence these profiles have on the network position and information search was analysed. The results reveal that team members who score high on knowing and valuing are more often sought out for information than other team members. In addition, if the main communication channel is face-to-face contact, extraversion has an impact on information search.

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