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With the increasing popularity of collective memory in the group behavior literature, the transactive memory system (TMS) attracts many researchers and practitioners from different fields, in particular, small group research. Nevertheless, the application of the theory of TMS on new product development teams is surprisingly scant. We argue that the TMS leverages the notion of project-team memory, which is mostly equated with mechanistic memory or electronic documents and databases, by facilitating an interpersonal awareness of who knows what and who has appropriate and adequate skills and expertise, and then receiving information from that person. We then empirically test the effects of TMS on new product development outcomes including mediating and moderating factors, i.e., the collective mind and environmental turbulence, respectively. By investigating 79 Turkish new product development project teams, we found that: 1) the TMS has a positive impact on team learning and speed-to-market; 2) the collective mind (i.e., team members' attention to interrelating actions) mediates relations between the TMS, team learning, and speed-to-market; and 3) team learning and speed-to-market mediates relations between the TMS and new product success. Further, the moderating effect of environmental turbulence is investigated between the TMS, and team learning and speed-to-market. We found that the impact of the TMS on: 1) speed-to-market is negative when market and technology turbulence associated with the environment is high and 2) team learning changes quadratically with respect to the market and technology turbulence. Theoretical and managerial implications of the study findings are discussed.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2006