Perceptions of Expertise and Transactive Memory in Work Relationships
Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, Vol. 3, pp. 257-267, 2000
12 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2011
Date Written: 2000
People involved in close interpersonal relationships often develop a transactive memory system – a division of cognitive labor with respect to the encoding, storage, and retrieval of information from different substantive domains. The present study examined transactive memory systems using a sample of clerical office workers in a laboratory setting. It tested the general hypothesis that individual learning in work relationships is affected by perceptions of the relative expertise of coworkers. Participants were told that they would work on a task with a partner who had either similar or different work-related knowledge and job responsibilities. The findings supported the hypotheses that (a) people learn and recall more information in their own areas of expertise when their partner has different rather than similar work-related expertise; and (b) this effect reverses for recall of information outside work-related expertise. Taken together, the data showed that transactive memory is a property of work relationships, not just romantic relationships, and that role-based expertise can serve as its basis.
Keywords: expertise, groups, learning, transactive memory
JEL Classification: D70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation