Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Empowering teams through social network ties

an article by Xuepan Zhong (University of Science and Technology of China, Anhui province, China and City University of Hong Kong, Suzhou, China), Qian Huang and Huaping Chen (University of Science and Technology of China, Anhui province, China) and Robert M. Davison and Xuan Yang (City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong) published in International Journal of Information Management Volume 32 Issue 3 (June 2012)


Effective teamwork and knowledge coordination are becoming increasingly important for all kinds of organizations given the growing use of teams to tackle competitive challenges and sustain competitive advantage.

In this study, we develop and validate a model of how two types of social network ties – expressive and instrumental – contribute to team efficacy and performance, mediated by three dimensions of a transactive memory system (TMS) – specialization, credibility and coordination within teams. We test the model in an empirical study drawing on data from 66 teams in a variety of organizations.

The results suggest that both instrumental and expressive ties within teams can facilitate the formation of TMS and the three dimensions of TMS are all, even though to different extents, positively related to team efficacy. Team efficacy is also a powerful predictor of team performance.

The findings in our study bridge the literature gap about social networks and TMS and explain the underlying process and mechanisms by which social network ties exert their influence on team outcomes. The results have implications for organizations that wish to leverage teams to take advantage of team members’ differentiated expertise and coordinate their work more effectively and efficiently.

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