Developing Transactive Memory Systems

Part of the Innovation und Entrepreneurship book series (INNOV)


Prior research has focused on how the social exchange rule of reciprocity can incentivize cooperative behavior in organizations. However, we argue that reciprocity has costs which have so far been largely ignored and which can have an adverse impact on intra-organizational knowledge collaboration. If the costs of reciprocity are perceived to be high in an organization, potential knowledge-seekers may hesitate to ask internal experts for help. This can sub-stantially impede the development of organizational transactive memory systems. Using a unique dataset of 222 German companies, we find that the costs of reciprocity do indeed restrict the development of organizational transactive memory systems. We also theorize and find empirical evidence of ways in which organizations can counter this adverse effect: formalization of procedures for knowledge collaboration and organizational slack resources moderate the negative effect of the costs of reciprocity. Using information technology to facilitate knowledge retrieval, however, is not shown to have any effect.


transactive memory systems reciprocity organizational design social exchange theory 


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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FB WirtschaftswissenschaftenUniversität PassauPassauGermany

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