The Organization as a Transactive Memory System
Several forms of repository have been proposed for organizational memory, including people, culture, routines, technology and software, organizational structure and workplace ecology [5; 16], but what if we change the focus from repositories to processes? By observing couples and small groups, psychologists have found that the storage and retrieval of knowledge is transactional, i.e., that people develop systems for sharing responsibility for storage and retrieval of knowledge in such a way that no single individual needs to know everything that the group needs to know — it is sufficient to know who knows what and to be able to retrieve the information from that person. Transactive memory systems (TMS) essentially consist of sets of directories containing metadata which point to knowledge locations and the processes that maintain and utilize those directories. In this chapter, we introduce the notion of the organization as a TMS and consider how this perspective can assist with design of human and technology- supported systems to improve knowledge sharing in distributed and virtual organizations.
KeywordsInformation System Organizational Memory Virtual Team Head Office International Staff
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