Open Access

Team learning, transactive memory system and team performance: A longitudinal study based on the IMOI approach

Frontiers of Business Research in ChinaSelected Publications from Chinese Universities20104:104

Published: 24 August 2010


This study examines how team learning behaviors transfer into team effectiveness, and analyzes the dynamic mechanism of team learning within a time series framework. 99 teams were recruited as our initial sample at the first stage, and 55 teams were traced at the second stage. We employed the input-mediator-output-input (IMOI) approach as proposed by Ilgen et al. (2005), instead of the traditional input-process-output (I-P-O) model in industrial and organizational psychology. Results show that the mediating effect of transactive memory system (TMS) on the relationship between team learning and performance is significant at both stages, which means TMS can adequately account for how team learning influences team performance as a mediator. Team performance, as an output received at the end of stage one, also acts as an important input variable at stage two, which in turn positively influences the subsequent team learning process. The circular causal model based on path analysis shows that the IMOI approach can be used to explain organizational mechanisms better than the classic I-P-O approach; the result is consistent with the new trends within the team relevant IO psychological understanding. Findings suggest that developing and maintaining a TMS is critical to achieving team outputs under a team learning setting. In addition, performance evaluation and feedback are also important factors within team learning processes. We argue that organizational behavior research based on an IMOI approach would have more generalizability and ecological validity than the traditional I-P-O model.


team learningtransactive memory systemteam performanceinput-mediaton-output-input (IMOI)longitudinal design