Abstract

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. Such boundaries are associated with the different knowledge backgrounds of people from various disciplines and the various contexts and circumstances in which different organizational departments operate. In this research we investigate the role of a Transactive Memory (TM) theory which deals with knowledge coordination in groups - in bridging syntactic, semantic and pragmatic knowledge boundaries in cross-functional groups. The TM theory has been applied recently by Information Systems (IS) researchers to investigate various aspects related to the development and use of IS in different organizational contexts. Our findings, based on a survey conducted in a large Dutch governmental organization, extend the TM theory by showing that a Transactive Memory System negatively influences syntactic, semantic and pragmatic boundaries. Furthermore, our results show that a pragmatic boundary has a positive influence on the existence of the syntactic and semantic boundaries. The paper discusses implications of our findings for the design, maintenance and use of IT-based systems in organizations.

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