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Collective Intelligence and Knowledge Integration

As organizations, their operations and the challenges they face become increasingly complex, organizations need to become better at using the knowledge and expertise of its members in collective problem-solving processes. The current project focuses on the capabilities required for knowledge integration in knowledge intensive teams and the ways in which these capabilities may be built.

Background and research questions:

Research on teamwork emphasizes the potential of bringing together different expertise in collective problem solving but also points at both cognitive and social barriers to realizing this potential. The current project brings together different streams of team research to create an integrated model of effective knowledge integration in knowledge intensive teams. Research questions pursued include:

  • What are the key processes and emergent states of effective knowledge intensive teams?
  • What interventions may help knowledge intensive teams increase their ability to use its collective knowledge and thus increase their performance?

Research approach:

The above questions have been studied in survey and interview-based research in over 100 teams, mostly in Sweden.

An intervention based on principles of self-guided team debriefs has been tested in an experimental design with 50 work teams.

Key findings:

  • Based on an integration of the team learning and transactive memory systems literatures, a model of knowledge integration is developed identifying four key capabilities for knowledge integration: Reflection, Integration, Representation and Relation.
  • In this study, we demonstrate that integration and reflection behavior of team members relate to performance by 1) developing an advanced, shared and meaningful representation and 2) developing relations that ensure the team of its member’s deeper residing thoughts and ideas.
  • Key processes of knowledge integration in teams may be improved by an app-facilitated 8 week intervention focusing on team debriefs. Teams using the intervention improved both their knowledge integration processes and performance (self- as well as observer assessed) in relation to control groups not following the program. Read more.

Further information:

Early phases of the project have been funded by Vinnova.

The project has also been partly funded by Influence AB.