Developing transactive memory systems: Theoretical contributions from a social identity perspective

Jenny Liao, Nerina L. Jimmieson, Anne T. O'Brien, Simon L.D. Restubog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Transactive memory system (TMS) theory explains how expertise is recognized and coordinated in teams. Extending current TMS research from a group information-processing perspective, our article presents a theoretical model that considers TMS development from a social identity perspective. We discuss how two features of communication (quantity and quality) important to TMS development are linked to TMS through the group identification mechanism of a shared common team identity. Informed by social identity theory, we also differentiate between intragroup and intergroup contexts and outline how, in multidisciplinary teams, professional identification and perceived equality of status among professional subgroups have a role to play in TMS development. We provide a theoretical discussion of future research directions aimed at testing and extending our model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-240
Number of pages37
JournalGroup and Organization Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • communication
  • professional identification
  • social identity theory
  • team identification
  • transactive memory system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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