Knowledge Building in Teams

Joan R. Rentsch, Department of Management, The University of Tennessee, discusses an article she recently wrote with co-authors Lisa A. Delise, Eduardo Salas, and Michael P. Letsky. “Facilitating Knowledge Building in Teams: Can a New Team Training Strategy Help?”, was published in the October 2010 issue of Small Group Research.

 Who is the target audience for this article?
Researchers or practitioners interested in team cognition, information sharing, and training teams to improve communication through discussion, cues, and visual representation of information. 

 What Inspired You To Be Interested In This Topic?
Increasingly teams are becoming essential elements in organizations.  Although they present many benefits, they must also overcome challenges in order to be effective.  Information sharing and knowledge building are two challenges for teams that have received research attention.  A desire to offer a theory-driven and practical solution to address these challenges inspired the interest.

 Were There Findings That Were Surprising To You?
The data supported the hypotheses, so the findings turned out as we expected and hoped.  The project was successful and serves as a foundation for examining this training strategy.

 How Do You See This Study Influencing Future Research And/Or Practice?
This study articulates and offers validation for a training strategy that aids decision-making teams in communicating effectively.  Future applications might be aimed at other kinds of teams and decision-making teams with distributed members.

How Does This Study Fit Into Your Body Of Work/Line Of Research?
The authors have had an interest in team cognition for quite some time, so examining how training and technology can promote cognitive similarity logically follows from previous work.  Specifically, this research builds on our theoretical work (e.g., Rentsch, Delise, & Hutchison, 2008; Rentsch, Mello, & Delise, 2010), and the work on macrognition (e.g., Letsky, Warner, Fiore, & Smith, 2008) and team training (e.g., Salas & Fiore, 2004).  It is our hope that the study will contribute to advancing the increasing research interest in the cognitive aspects of work teams.

 How Did Your Paper Change During The Review Process?
The paper changed very little, although the reviewer comments were helpful in highlighting a few points for clarification.  The editor was extremely helpful and facilitated the revision process.  The submission and revision processes were very smooth.

 What, If Anything, Would You Do Differently If You Could Go Back And Do This Study Again?
Under the best conditions, all measures would have been automated.  Also, the ability to capture the teams’ process using high quality video and audio recording would have enabled the use of behavioral measures, which would have strengthened the study.


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