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Communication for Change: Transactive Memory Systems as Dynamic Capabilities

Research in Organizational Change and Development

ISBN: 978-1-78052-022-3, eISBN: 978-1-78052-023-0

Publication date: 17 July 2011


The concept that an organization's actions or inactions constrain or enhance its future options and outcomes and – ultimately – its long-term survival, is here referred to as the organization's viability. Following a dynamic capabilities framework, we identify two communication practices that help develop both transactive memory systems and a firm's long-term viability, information allocation and collective reflexivity, and call for the development of others. We discuss the interrelationship of these two practices as nurturing the development of transactive memory systems critical for organizational long-term viability. We then discuss organizational structures that prompt or constrain the development of these two communication practices – organizational members’ perceived environmental uncertainty, perceptions of time as scarce, feedback cycles between actions and outcomes, and organizational members’ temporal focus – and offer propositions concerning these relationships. We emphasize the relevance of TMS through the exploration of three characteristics of the relationship between TMS and the long-term viability of organizations. Finally, we conclude with recommendations for organizational development practitioners for fostering TMS through the facilitation of sites for collective reflexivity.


Felipe Gómez, L. and Ballard, D.I. (2011), "Communication for Change: Transactive Memory Systems as Dynamic Capabilities", (Rami) Shani, A.B., Woodman, R.W. and Pasmore, W.A. (Ed.) Research in Organizational Change and Development (Research in Organizational Change and Development, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 91-115.



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