Knowledge exchange and integration across group boundaries are critical for knowledge intensive organizations. Prior research has investigated boundary-spanning ties on the individual as well as on the group level, neglecting, however, the question of how individual boundary spanning shapes and contributes to inter-group knowledge integration. In our study, we address this gap by integrating boundary-spanning literature with literature on group information processing and suggest that, contrary to the perspective taken by earlier research, not all individual boundary spanning ties equally contribute to inter-group knowledge integration. Rather, we hypothesize that the effect of individual boundary spanning ties on inter-group knowledge integration depends on the individuals’ positions in their groups’ transactive memory systems. We tested our predictions in a network study of 457 engineering consultants nested in 22 interdependent business units within an organization. Our results indicate that individual boundary spanning ties contribute to inter-group knowledge integration only when the knowledge seeker chooses a person who is central in his or her own group’s transactive memory system as a source of information. Seeking knowledge from persons who are peripheral in their own groups’ transactive memory systems, on the other hand, did not increase inter-group knowledge integration.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Academy of Management Proceedings|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2014|
|Event||74th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2014 - Philadelphia, United States|
Duration: 1 Aug 2014 → 4 Aug 2014
Mell, J. N., Knippenberg, D. V., Van Ginkel, W. P., & Heughens, P. (2014). Whose brain to pick? The interplay of boundary spanning and transactive memory in inter-group knowledge integration. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2014(1), 642-647. https://doi.org/10.5465/AMBPP.2014.205