Are we on the same page? Knowledge boundaries and transactive memory system development in cross-functional teams


One of the key challenges that organizations face when trying to integrate knowledge across different functions is the need to overcome knowledge boundaries between team members. In cross-functional teams, these boundaries, associated with different knowledge backgrounds of people from various disciplines, create communication problems, necessitating team members to engage in complex cognitive processes when integrating knowledge toward a joint outcome. This research investigates the impact of syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic knowledge boundaries on a team’s ability to develop a transactive memory system (TMS)—a collective memory system for knowledge coordination in groups. Results from our survey show that syntactic and pragmatic knowledge boundaries negatively affect TMS development. These findings extend TMS theory beyond the information-processing view, which treats knowledge as an object that can be stored and retrieved, to the interpretive and practice-based views of knowledge, which recognize that knowledge (in particular specialized knowledge) is localized, situated, and embedded in practice.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Operations & Information Management
Uncontrolled Keywords: pragmatic knowledge boundaries,cross-functional team,semantic,syntactic,transactive memory system,Communication,Language and Linguistics,Linguistics and Language
Publication ISSN: 1552-3810
Full Text Link: http://crx.sage ... ontent/42/3/319
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2015-04
Published Online Date: 2012-12-26
Authors: Kotlarsky, Julia (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-1478-549X)
van den Hooff, Bart
Houtman, Leonie



Version: Accepted Version

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