A Systems Perspective for Measuring Features of Transdisciplinary Knowledge Producing Teams (TDKPTs)

  • Gaetano R. LotrecchianoEmail author
  • Shalini Misra


Knowledge production in teams dedicated to solving wicked problems occurs in highly interactive and complex environments where structural and interactive dynamics are constantly at play. Acknowledging these dynamics and mapping the skills required to work within these teams is at the heart of inquiry that will lead to understanding how to measure team effectiveness in solving complex and wicked problems. In this paper, transdisciplinarity (TD) is a knowledge economy framework used to understand these features of knowledge producing teams (KPTs). We use a complex adaptive systems (CAS) lens to identify and define the features of transdisciplinary knowledge producing teams and show how team participants might develop skills that more truly express complex adaptive conditions. Transdisciplinary knowledge producing teams (TDKPTs) are groups of stakeholder participants tasked with producing knowledge across disciplinary, sectoral, and ecological boundaries. TDKPTs reflect components of complex adaptive systems (CAS) and exemplify how CAS behave and function. The paper accesses the literature from the science-of-team-science (SciTS), complexity theory, and systems theory to construct a typology of the features of TDKPTs and provides a list of features developed from a diverse body of literature useful for considering complexity within TDKPTs. In addition, the authors identify important skill-building aspects needed for TDKPTs to be successful.



Parts of this chapter were originally presented at the 2017 Systems and Complexity Science in Health for Healthcare Conference, Embracing Complexity and Health: The Transformation of Science, Practice and Policy, at the George Washington University, Washington D.C. This paper was published in July 2018 in Informing Science: The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline in a Special Issue dedicated to Communication in Transdisciplinary Teams, edited by the authors of this paper. The present chapter is a reprint of the original paper published in Informing Science.

Lotrecchiano G and Misra S (2018). Transdisciplinary knowledge producing teams: Toward a complex systems perspective. Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline; 21, 51–74.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical Research and LeadershipGeorge Washington University School of Medicine and Health SciencesWashington, DCUSA
  2. 2.Virginia Tech School of Public and International AffairsAlexandriaUSA

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