A theoretical exploration of out-group versus in-group perspectives on the dynamics of team effectiveness

Radu Vlas, Huy Will Nguyen, Cristina O. Vlas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Past research on transactive memory systems (TMS) often treated the focal team as an isolated entity. Previous literature overlooked two aspects of TMS: its existence beyond the boundaries of the focal team (further referred to as out-group TMS) and the way the out-group TMS helps teams adapt and remain effective when the circumstances change. This study aims to fill this gap by exploring the overlooked aspects of TMS on the dynamics of team effectiveness. Design/methodology/approach: This study adopts a theoretical perspective and proposes two sets of propositions. First set explores the overlooked construct of out-group TMS and defines the boundaries of its applicability by building on Lewis’ (2003) dimensions of TMS. Second set explores ways in which out-group TMS can combine with in-group TMS to enable higher team effectiveness in fast-paced settings facing uncertainty and change. Findings: The study’s conceptual perspective builds the grounds for improving scholars’ understanding of the drivers of team effectiveness in relation to the locus of TMS. The study investigates ways to combine in-group and out-group TMS and conceptually discusses their effects on team effectiveness: a mediation, an interaction and an additive model. The investigation concludes that out-group TMS plays a critical role and that overlooking its impact can be devastating for organizations in fast-paced environments. Originality/value: This study unveils the unique and previously underexplored dynamics of transactive memory in teams with looser boundaries. Further, it extends scholars’ understanding of team cognition in contemporary, fast-paced business environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-60
Number of pages16
JournalTeam Performance Management
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 25 Feb 2022


  • Adaptation
  • Boundary spanning
  • Out-group TMS
  • Team effectiveness
  • Transactive memory


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