Shared Cognition in Organizations: The Management of Knowledge

Shared Cognition in Organizations: The Management of Knowledge

Shared Cognition in Organizations: The Management of Knowledge

Shared Cognition in Organizations: The Management of Knowledge


Written for those interested in the topic of "shared knowledge" in organizations, this edited volume brings together a variety of themes and perspectives that emerge when multidisciplinary scholars examine this important subject. The papers were presented at a conference designed to bring together behavioral scientists who were interested in the creation, conversation, distribution, and protection of knowledge in organizations.

The editors bring together a distinguished group of social psychologists who have made important contributions to social cognition and group processes. They cast a wide net in terms of the topics covered and challenged the authors to think about how their research applies to the management or mismanagement of knowledge in organizations. The volume is divided into three sections: knowledge systems, emotional-motivational systems, and communication and behavioral systems. A final conclusion chapter discusses and integrates the various contributions.


Leigh L. ThompsonNorthwestern University

John M. LevineUniversity of Pittsburgh

David M. MessickNorthwestern University

The idea for a conference on shared cognition in organizations came about several years ago, when we decided to bring together a group of eminent scholars interested in how people in organizations create, distribute, and act on knowledge. Our goal was to explore new directions in social cognition research that shed light on how organizational members think and reason.

In recent years, increasing attention has been devoted to the social bases of cognition (for example, see Higgins, 1992; Hinsz, Tindale, & Vollrath, 1997; Levine, Resnick, & Higgins, 1993; Nye & Brower, 1996; Resnick, Levine, & Teasley, 1991; Thompson, 1998). Using such rubrics as socially shared cognition, distributed cognition, and contextualized cognition, investigators are focusing on cognition as an interpersonal as well as an intrapersonal process. Without negating the importance of information processing at the individual level, social psychologists (as well as developmental and organizational psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, and educational researchers) are exploring the implications of viewing cognition as a fundamentally social activity. This new way of thinking about social cognition was a major impetus for organizing our conference and preparing this volume of conference papers.

At about the same time the area of socially shared cognition was beginning to develop, an interesting intellectual migration was occurring with social psychologists, both newly minted and well-established, moving from psychology departments in colleges of arts and sciences to organization behavior departments in business schools. This migration has resulted in two important developments.

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