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Journal of Business Research 96 (2019) 297–308

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Journal of Business Research

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A dual-process contingency model of leadership, transactive memory T

systems and team performance

Daniel G. Bachracha, , Ryan Mullinsb
Department of Management, Culverhouse College of Business, University of Alabama, United States of America
Department of Marketing, College of Business, Clemson University, United States of America


Keywords: In complex markets, use of teams is becoming more prevalent to capitalize on shared knowledge and expertise
Transactive memory systems across members – often called transactive memory systems (TMS). For organizations to execute and benefit from
Leadership a transactive memory approach, it is critical to improve understanding of how leadership and external en-
Market dynamism vironments influence translation of TMS into improved performance. Drawing on leadership, transactive
Sales team performance
memory and contingency theories we examine internal and external factors to explain team performance via
TMS. Using data from 79 sales teams in a Fortune 250 industrial goods and services firm, we find that trans-
formational leadership has a stronger relationship with TMS in smaller teams and transactional leadership has a
stronger relationship with TMS in less tenured teams. Finally, our results also indicate that the strength of the
relationship between TMS and team performance depends on market dynamism. Implications of these results for
theory and practice are discussed.

1. Introduction – defined as leadership that causes change in individuals and social

systems (Bass, 1985; Bono & Judge, 2004) – can strengthen the co-
Progressively complex work in organizations and the consequent ordinated social interactions and shared understanding (Day, Gronn, &
widespread adoption of teams has led to considerable focus on drivers Salas, 2004) necessary for TMS. Further, although evidence from the
of team performance (Kozlowski & Bell, 2003; Salas, Stagl, & Burke, leadership domain suggests that transformational leadership (TFL) may
2004). This includes a proliferation of research on knowledge processes generate more productive outcomes than transactional leadership
such as transactive memory systems (TMS; Chiang, Shih, & Hsu, 2014; (TAL) (Birasnav, 2014; Elenkov, 2002 – defined as leadership through
Lewis, 2003). TMS, which is defined as the cooperative division of labor rewards and incentives (e.g., Bass, Avolio, Jung, & Berson, 2003; Judge
for learning, remembering and communicating relevant team knowl- & Piccolo, 2004) – tangible inducements also may mechanically ex-
edge (Hollingshead, 2001; Wegner, 1986), has recognized collective pedite the emergence of TMS (Hood et al., 2014). For example, Hood
performance consequences across a range of contexts (Bachrach et al., et al. (2014) argued that managers can encourage members to develop
2018; Bachrach, Mullins, & Rapp, 2017; Faraj & Sproull, 2000; Lewis, and share the “expertise maps that codify the informal domain differ-
2004; Michinov, Olivier-Chiron, Rusch, & Chiron, 2008; Rau, 2005). entiation characterized by TMS.” (2014, p. 11).
While a number of process-related factors such as intimacy (Wegner, However, the capacity of these dimensions of leadership to drive
1986), communication frequency (Lewis, 2004), prior learning (Lewis, TMS likely depends on team characteristics that impact the fit between
Lange, & Gillis, 2005), familiarity (Lewis, 2004), and social network specific attributes of the approach and the team setting. Specifically,
connectivity (Lee, Bachrach, & Lewis, 2014) have been associated with prior research has introduced team size as a critical boundary condition
TMS, an intriguing question has emerged regarding the important relating to the emergence of TMS (Palazzolo, Serb, She, Su, &
antecedent role that leadership can play (Hammedi, van Riel, & Contractor, 2006; Ren, Carley, & Argote, 2006) and the role of trans-
Sasovova, 2013; Hood, Bachrach, & Lewis, 2014), which is our focus in formational leadership in generating collaboration (Cha, Kim, Lee, &
the current study. Bachrach, 2015). While TFL can drive collective focus and collaborative
For example, socio-cognitive processes underlie the team level in- orientation critical to TMS, as physical and psychological distance in-
formation processing on which TMS depends (Ellis, 2006; Wegner, creases with team size, its capacity to do so likely diminishes. Likewise,
1995). Hammedi et al. (2013) argued that transformational leadership while TAL may provoke enthusiasm for developing the unique domains

Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: (D.G. Bachrach), (R. Mullins).
Received 19 April 2018; Received in revised form 16 November 2018; Accepted 17 November 2018
Available online 03 December 2018
0148-2963/ Published by Elsevier Inc.
D.G. Bachrach, R. Mullins Journal of Business Research 96 (2019) 297–308

of expertise and information sharing foundational to TMS, because 2. Theoretical background and hypotheses
team tenure provides opportunities for these attributes to emerge im-
plicitly (Hollingshead, 1998a) tenure may substitute for TAL as a driver 2.1. Transactive memory systems (TMS)
of TMS in longer-tenured teams. Thus, the first goal of this study is to
contribute by extending and deepening understanding of relationships TMS theory provides that members of collectives can function as
between leadership and TMS, with a focus on contingencies impacting external memory aids to one another (Wegner, 1986). TMS allows
associations with both types of leadership. members to encode, store and retrieve information (Lewis & Herndon,
In conjunction with our focus on leadership antecedents of TMS, we 2011), providing members with insight into who knows what and who
also seek to enhance understanding of the relationship between TMS is best at what within a team. Members of collectives with a functioning
and team performance in an emerging performance context in the TMS TMS maintain two types of meta-memories. These relate to the kinds of
domain. For example, in a sample of 54 sales teams, Bachrach et al. knowledge and information maintained by each member, and to the
(2017) reported that TMS can strengthen relationships between both location of these disparate domains within the team. Expertise and lo-
learning effort and service quality with salesperson performance. Yet, cation knowledge are encoded, stored, and retrieved through on-going
the role of TMS as a primary driver of team performance in customer- transactions (Wegner, 1995). A consequence is that TMS enhances the
facing contexts remains unclear. Recent research has emphasized team speed of information search, facilitating efficient application of
knowledge management factors such as information exchange (Auh, knowledge and more fluid adaptation to performance contingencies.
Spyropoulou, Menguc, & Uslu, 2014), knowledge creation (Menguc, The system is described as transactive because it depends on inter-
Auh, & Uslu, 2013) and team action processes (Rapp, Ahearne, member interaction and communication. This fosters deeper, more
Mathieu, & Rapp, 2010) as antecedents in sales settings, suggesting functional, specialized collective knowledge, providing teams with ef-
TMS may also play a key role in driving team performance in this do- ficient access to more task-critical information (e.g., Austin, 2003;
main. Moreland, 1999).
Furthermore, although TMS has recognized associations with team
performance in general, little is known about factors that impact this 2.2. Contingency theory
relationship. For example, Ren and Argote (2011) urged that, “More
research is needed…on understanding …factors that moderate the re- However, these relationships may be subject to contingency factors
lationship between transactive memory systems and team perfor- impacting the fit between the processes and structures within teams
mance” (p. 223). Specifically, it is widely established that the context with a functioning TMS and the team's operating environment. For
and structure of work must ‘fit’ in order to achieve productive outcomes example, research suggests that relationships between TMS and team
(Drazin & Van de Ven, 1985). Operational context also is critical for performance may depend on communication medium (Griffith, Sawyer,
understanding the performance potential of constructs such as TMS, & Neale, 2003; Hollingshead, 1998b), which can impact the effective-
where the generation of productive outcomes depends on fit between ness with which members are able to locate, verify and retrieve ex-
the team's operational characteristics and its environment (Donaldson, pertise (Lewis, 2004; Yuan, Carboni, & Ehrlich, 2010). Although there is
2001). Ren and Argote's (2011) call relating to conditions under which a relatively broad class of contingency theories (Drazin & Van de Ven,
TMS may be most likely to lead to productive outcomes coincides with 1985), ranging from focus on leadership (Fiedler, 1981) to organiza-
a growing focus on team performance in dynamic environments (Burke, tional structure (Lawrence & Lorsch, 1967), a key underlying premise is
Stagl, Salas, Pierce, & Kendal, 2006; Marques-Quinteiro, Curral, Passos, that there is no best way to lead, organize or make decisions (Beersma
& Lewis, 2013; Rico, Sánchez-Manzanares, Gil, & Gibson, 2008). et al., 2003). The most productive outcomes emerge when approaches
In an effort to address their call, we focus on a performance con- to leading or decision-making coincide with internal and/or external
tingency with the potential to influence the fit between teams' opera- contingencies impacting fit between the approach and environmental
tional characteristics and environment – market dynamism. Market constraints. We leverage the notion of fit to explain the role played by
dynamism is defined as the frequency and velocity of changes in cus- internal (i.e., size; tenure) and external (i.e., market dynamism) con-
tomer preferences and competitive offerings (Davis, Eisenhardt, & tingencies relating to the emergence and consequences of TMS.
Bingham, 2009; Dess & Beard, 1984). Our focus on market dynamisms
is informed by research which suggests that TMS may play a role in how 2.3. Transformational leadership and TMS
effectively teams adapt to dynamic work contexts (Marques-Quinteiro
et al., 2013). TMS can help teams to more quickly locate and selectively In light of its potential to enhance team outcomes, one of our pri-
leverage information and expertise in real-time in response to dynamic mary goals is to expand insight into discrete leadership drivers of TMS.
markets, and thus may play a more important role in team performance TFL has broadly recognized benefits for team performance
when these capacities are integral to team success. (Schaubroeck, Lam, & Cha, 2007), group processes (Wang & Howell,
In testing the model in Fig. 1, we develop a framework to explain: 1) 2010) and team collaboration (Kahai, Sosik, & Avolio, 2003). Through
conditions impacting the relationships between distinct leadership ap- idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation
proaches and TMS; and 2) conditions impacting the relationship be- and individualized consideration transformational leaders motivate
tween TMS and team performance and aim to make several contribu- followers to work collaboratively, beyond their immediate self-interests
tions. First, building from leadership theory we extend the range of TMS (Bass, 1985; Judge & Piccolo, 2004). Collaborative culture is a re-
antecedents to explain the role played by multiple leadership drivers cognized consequence of TFL (e.g., Hammedi et al., 2013; Peltokorpi &
(i.e., TFL; TAL). Given the relatively scant attention to TFL and TAL Hasu, 2016), supporting this behavior as a driver of TMS, which de-
within the TMS domain, we seek to contribute with focus on TMS as a pends on coordinated interactions for the development and main-
key mechanism translating TFL and TAL into team performance. tenance of collective knowledge. For example, transformational leaders
Second, building from current framing in the TMS area we examine can create changes in individuals and social systems, influencing
team characteristics (i.e., size; tenure) with potential to impact re- members to transcend personal interests (Howell & Higgins, 1990) and
lationships between these forms of leadership and TMS. Finally, re- focus on working together to establish and maintain collective under-
sponding to calls from the literature we examine a theoretically derived standing of who knows what and who depends on whom to achieve
moderator of the relationship between TMS and team performance (i.e., team goals. Transformational leaders also encourage followers to focus
market dynamism). Thus, we provide contextual guidance – based on on collective outcomes (Bass, 1985), promoting and sustaining a shared
market dynamism – to help understand when TMS offers collective vision and understanding that contributes to more effective teamwork
performance benefits. (Day et al., 2004).

D.G. Bachrach, R. Mullins Journal of Business Research 96 (2019) 297–308

Time 1 Time 2

Team Market
Size Dynamism
Shaping Team Values

Transformational –
Leadership +
Transactional –
Sales Team Response
Clarifying Expectations Manager Response
Archival Records

Fig. 1. Proposed conceptual framework.

For example, Zhang, Cao, & Tjosvold, 2011reported that TFL en- knowledge relating to who knows what and who depends on whom
courages members to approach conflict cooperatively, promoting intra- within a team.
team coordination. Again, this focus on collective outcomes and co- Contingency theory suggests that mechanical differences (e.g.,
operative understanding is core to the functioning of a TMS, which smaller teams are better able to communicate and coordinate) impact
depends on members explicitly specializing in unique domains of col- the fit between TFL and TMS. In larger teams, the capacity of TFL to
lective work. Finally, TMS also requires teams to work collectively to facilitate the coordination and communication that underlie TMS is
develop and coordinate specialized knowledge and expertise; and TFL likely to be more limited. Coordination and communication also are
emphasizes the role of individual contributions to collective goals likely to be more difficult due to members' physical and psychological
(Burke et al., 2006). Because transformational leaders can motivate distance (Reagans & McEvily, 2003). These difficulties increase the
focus on team outcomes, inspire cooperative effort toward collective probability that members will have poorer understanding of the
goals, and motivate followers to transcend standard performance ex- member-expertise associations that undergird TMS (Moreland, 1999;
pectations, we predict the following: Palazzolo et al., 2006). Further, although TFL can motivate followers to
work cooperatively, the coordination that TFL can generate also is
Hypothesis 1a. Transformational leadership is positively associated
likely to be more diffuse in larger teams, making it difficult for fol-
with TMS.
lowers to discover and integrate members' uniquely-held knowledge
(Moreland, 1999; Ren et al., 2006). Because transformational leaders'
2.4. Team size as a moderator of transformational leadership capacity to facilitate integrated, collaborative interactions and com-
munication is likely to be more limited in larger teams, we expect that
However, building from current insight from the TMS literature, the team size weakens the strength of the relationship between TFL and
strength of the relationship between TFL and TMS is likely to be im- TMS, leading to the following:
pacted by a dilution of leaders' influence and capacity to effectively Hypothesis 1b. Team size moderates the relationship between
inspire coordinated interactions. Specifically, team size has been in- transformational leadership and TMS, such that the relationship
troduced as a critical boundary condition relating to the emergence of weakens as team size increases.
TMS (Palazzolo et al., 2006; Ren et al., 2006). The culture of colla-
boration inspired by TFL provides teams with opportunities to develop
insight into who is best at what within the team. This is essential for the 2.5. Transactional leadership and TMS
development of a TMS. We argue below that the capacity of TFL to
catalyze the coordinated interactions and communication necessary for Compared to TFL, TAL depends less on transcendent collective
TMS is likely to be diminished in larger teams. Research has explored processes and focuses, rather, on explicit links between rewards/pun-
TMS in teams (and other collectives) across a range of different sizes. ishments and behavior. A great deal of research supports this tenet of
For example, while Wegner's original research focused on relational management theory; followers are significantly more likely to engage in
dyads (Wegner, 1986), research also has examined TMS in larger behaviors which are rewarded and avoid behaviors which are punished
groups of thirty or more (Ren et al., 2006). More specifically, team size (Judge & Piccolo, 2004). In light of the fact that TMS has a recognized,
has been a recurring point of focus because it has implications for the consistent impact on team performance, the importance of coordinated,
conditions necessary for the mechanical emergence of TMS. For ex- integrated work effort is likely to be salient to team leaders. Teams can
ample, Michinov and Michinov (2009) reported that smaller groups develop a shared directory of expertise associations in a number of
may be able to coordinate more effectively, while Palazzolo et al. ways, including past performance records (Moreland & Myaskovsky,
(2006) reported that smaller groups also tend to communicate more 2000), perceptions and expectations (Hollingshead & Fraidin, 2003) or
effectively. Thus, team size may impact the emergence of meta- joint training experiences (Liang, Moreland, & Argote, 1995). However,

D.G. Bachrach, R. Mullins Journal of Business Research 96 (2019) 297–308

Hood and colleagues argued “the structure and transactive processes Hypothesis 2b. Team tenure moderates the relationship between
underlying TMS may be encouraged, practiced … and rewarded …. transactional leadership and TMS, such that the relationship weakens
Managers may reward employees for the development and sharing of as tenure increases.
explicit member expertise maps.” (Hood et al., 2014: p. 11). Consistent
with this argument, we expect transactional leaders to seek to motivate
the structures and processes underlying TMS by rewarding behaviors 2.7. Relationship between TMS, market dynamism and team performance
that contribute to its emergence; these include behaviors such as de-
veloping and sharing specialized knowledge and expertise associated Finally, as noted above, TMS facilitates efficient encoding, storage
with team tasks, coordinating work efforts and accepting suggestions and retrieval of critical task information and expertise, enhances the
from other team members. It is broadly recognized that TAL can have a speed of information search, and enables fluid adaptation to perfor-
strong impact on critical workplace behavior. Thus, we expect that TAL mance contingencies (Austin, 2003; Lewis, 2003; Lewis & Herndon,
is likely to have a positive effect on the behaviors that drive the 2011; Moreland, 1999). Teams with a functioning TMS have access to
structures and processes critical to TMS, and as a consequence should deeper and more functional collective knowledge, as well as higher
have a positive relationship with TMS, and the following: quality information (Lewis, 2004; Moreland, 1999). Sales teams in
particular are uniquely positioned to benefit from the improved
Hypothesis 2a. Transactional leadership is positively associated with knowledge and information management available with a functioning
TMS. TMS. For example, salespeople have access to valuable market in-
telligence which can improve sales team outcomes when this informa-
tion is collectively shared and disseminated among team members (Auh
2.6. Team tenure as a moderator of transactional leadership et al., 2014). Thus, when task-critical knowledge is stored and accessed
via transactive memory, teams should benefit from faster knowledge
However, several leadership theories (i.e., House, 1996) have retrieval and a broader collective knowledge base to leverage during
identified experience or tenure as a critical factor impacting leadership task activities. In light of these attributes, coupled with the consistent
effectiveness. We expect the operant relationships that drive the relationship between TMS and team performance reported in the lit-
emergence of TMS via TAL are likely to be less impactful as team tenure erature (Bachrach et al., 2018; Faraj & Sproull, 2000; Lewis, 2004; Rau,
(i.e., the length of time members have worked together) (Schippers, 2005), we expect TMS is positively related to team performance in the
Den Hartog, Koopman, & Wienk, 2003) increases. current study.
A critical hurdle to a functioning TMS is insight into what other Hypothesis 3a. TMS is positively associated with team performance.
members know and reliance on others for their unique domains of ex-
pertise, skill, and task knowledge. We argue above that TAL can con-
tribute to the emergence of TMS. As managers encourage and reward 2.8. Market dynamism as a moderator of the TMS-performance relationship
employees for developing and maintaining unique domains of respon-
sibility, developing and sharing their expertise maps – which catalogue However, although TMS has widely recognized team performance
the domain differentiation that defines a TMS – and for working with benefits, little is known about contingency factors that moderate this
one another in coordinated ways that coincide with these maps (Hood relationship. Below, we explain the role of market dynamism. Our focus
et al., 2014) TMS should increase. However, TMS also can develop on market dynamism is informed by theory and evidence that TMS can
organically as members implicitly divide the cognitive labor for play a role in how effectively teams are able to respond adaptively
learning, remembering, and communicating task-relevant information (Marques-Quinteiro et al., 2013). TMS increases decision making speed
(Wegner, 1986). In this way, expertise maps develop as members gain and the number of options teams are able to consider, which is critical
experience with one another, learn about one another's expertise, di- in dynamic markets.
vide the labor for learning, remembering, and communicating work- As an external contingency, market dynamism increases informa-
related information (Hollingshead, 1998a; Lewis, 2003). tion processing hurdles and complexity (Dess & Beard, 1984; Tushman,
For example, as Lewis, Belliveau, Herndon, and Keller (2007) noted: 1979). Dynamic markets are unpredictable, characterized by rapid
“groups develop an implicit structure for dividing responsibility for change and uncertainty (Miller, Ogilvie, & Glick, 2006). As a con-
information based on members' shared understanding of one another's sequence, effectiveness depends on sophisticated information search
expertise. (p. 160). This implicit structure emerges as members gain and processing routines (Eisenhardt, 1989), and consideration of a
experience with one another, come to understand one another's areas of broad range of alternatives (Judge & Miller, 1991). The capacity of
expertise and ultimately begin to rely on one another for knowledge teams to achieve quality performance outcomes becomes more difficult
and skills in discrete aspects of collective activities. Thus, members' as a consequence of dynamism and complexities in information pro-
experience with one another can provide a foundation for implicit de- cessing. Although intrateam dynamism in the form of membership
velopment of the processes and structures that define the TMS. change (Anderson & Lewis, 2014; Lewis et al., 2007) for example, can
Although TAL can catalyze rewards-driven motivation for members impact collective learning, extra-team dynamism may enhance the fit
to develop and share their expertise and coordinate their efforts (Hood between the structures and processes in teams with a functioning TMS
et al., 2014), experience working together may function as a TAL sub- and the environment.
stitute (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, & Bommer, 1996). Specifically, in teams When market dynamism is lower, information processing hurdles
with less tenure, where knowledge of members' expertise has only also are likely to be lower and decision effectiveness depends less on
emerged superficially and reliance on other members for their unique integrated and coordinated knowledge and expertise. Decision-making
skill domains has yet to develop momentum, leaders may encourage and task execution are more predictable because the operating en-
this process by offering incentives for doing so (Hood et al., 2014). vironment is more predictable, and thus the benefits of a TMS for
However, as team tenure increases, insight into members' expertise achieving team performance are likely to be lower. Importantly, culti-
domains has had more of an opportunity to solidify and reliance on vating and establishing a TMS consumes scarce resources. For example,
others' expertise has had more of an opportunity to develop inertia. As developing and maintaining collective awareness of distributed
this awareness and these patterns of interaction cohere, the influence of knowledge and expertise can engender connection and synchronization
contingent incentives to develop and share unique domains of expertise costs or “communication overhead” (MacMillan, Entin, & Serfaty,
is likely to be weaker, and thus the fit between TAL and TMS is likely to 2004).
be lower at higher levels of team tenure, leading to the following: Communication overhead reflects the time spent in communication

D.G. Bachrach, R. Mullins Journal of Business Research 96 (2019) 297–308

Table 1
means, standard deviations, and bivariate correlations among study variables.
Variables Mean Team-level SD Employee-level SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

⁎ ⁎
1. Transformational leadership 5.35 1.02 1.62 (0.97) 0.75 0.55
2. Transactional leadership 5.61 0.81 1.17 0.78⁎ (0.88) 0.50⁎
3. Transactive memory system 5.35 0.54 1.03 0.69⁎ 0.71⁎ (0.92)
4. Team size (members) 6.81 2.09 – −0.17 −0.13 −0.11 –
5. Team tenure (years) 4.51 2.32 – −0.16 −0.10 −0.08 0.18 –
6. Market dynamisma 4.69 1.18 – −0.03 −0.12 −0.05 −0.15 0.06 (0.85)
7. Competitive reward climatea 3.37 1.11 – −0.14 −0.14 −0.15 0.12 0.06 −0.29⁎ (0.77)
8. Industry experience (years) 11.32 3.55 8.07 −0.10 0.01 −0.02 0.06 0.40⁎ 0.13 −0.01 –
9. Gender diversity (%) 2.94 6.48 – 0.06 0.12 0.16 0.24⁎ −0.04 −0.31⁎ 0.06 −0.08 –
10. Team performance (% to quota) 100.16 2.61 – 0.14 0.15 0.20⁎ −0.08 −0.06 −0.04 −0.09 0.05 −0.15 –
Average variance extracted 0.85 0.73 0.72 – – 0.54 0.67 – – –
Composite reliability 0.97 0.89 0.88 – – 0.85 0.79 – – –

Note: N = 538 for individual-level variables. N = 79 for team-level variables. Cronbach's alphas are reported on the diagonal. Individual-level correlations are above
the diagonal. Team-level correlations are below the diagonal.

p < .05.
Manager responses.

with team members at the expense of productive work. While critical, offerings that team members routinely access for assistance in the ex-
communication overhead also has the potential to engender a cognitive ecution of their roles.
and communication load that diminishes teams' capacity to complete For example, teams sell and support a wide range of products and
core tasks. Resources diverted toward TMS may be misallocated be- services linked to several different mechanical systems. In order to be
cause the decision speed and breadth afforded by TMS are less relevant successful, teams need broad and deep knowledge of these offerings not
in placid markets (Modi & Mishra, 2011). In contrast, when market only to make initial sales, but also to provide continuing on-site cus-
dynamism is higher, fluid decision making, integration, and coordina- tomer support (e.g., efficiency checks; repairs; installations) and make
tion of disparate knowledge and expertise is critical because decision effective cross-sell offers. Given these complexities, members often seek
makers are unlikely to either possess or have ready access to all of the out “experts” on particular systems to assist with repair/installation
necessary information to make effective decisions. TMS allows teams to needs, support questions, or provide general guidance on unfamiliar
more quickly locate expertise embedded within the team, enabling features. Neither the firm nor managers classify these experts formally.
generation of creative solutions in real time in response to market Crucial here, members understand that certain others carry the
changes (Gino, Argote, Miron-Spektor, & Todorova, 2010). TMS also knowledge needed to help them in their own roles. In this way, mem-
facilitates team learning (Lewis et al., 2005), which is critical as dy- bers operate interdependently to provide knowledge, support, and as-
namic market conditions require teams to establish new approaches to sistance to one another to fulfill role responsibilities. Before data col-
generating productive outcomes, leading to the following: lection, we conducted in-depth interviews with executives, managers,
and front-line salespeople to ensure our materials were appropriate for
Hypothesis 3b. Market dynamism moderates the relationship between
the firm's context. Results from this evaluation supported our focus in
TMS and team performance such that the relationship is stronger when
this setting.
market dynamism is higher.
Our data collection involved two-time periods over a 4-month span.
As a body, the model we develop in Hypotheses 1–3 lead us to Time 1 included the employee- and manager-level survey administra-
predict a conditional indirect relationship between leadership, TMS, tion. Reminders to complete the survey were sent at 2 and 3 weeks
and team performance. Specifically, we expect that both TFL and TAL following the initial distribution (1 Month). Three months following the
have strong, indirect positive relationships with team performance survey, we collected archival team performance data (i.e., percentage of
through TMS in teams operating in dynamic market contexts, leading to quota) over a three-month period (Months 2–4). We distributed surveys
the following: to 752 salespeople in the eastern United States and their 89 team
managers. We received responses from 602 salespeople (80%) and 87
Hypothesis 4. Market dynamism moderates the strength of the
managers (98%). After removing incomplete and unmatched surveys,
mediated relationships between (a) transformational and (b)
and cases lost to attrition, we arrived at a final matched sample of 538
transactional leadership with team performance via TMS, such that
salespeople nested within 79 sales teams (~6.81 members per team,
the mediated relationships are stronger under high market dynamism.
SD = 2.09). Additional analyses showed that the incomplete sample did
not differ significantly from the final sample on any of the variables
included in our model. We found no significant differences between
3. Methods early and late responders, and the final sample was an average age of
27.2 years (SD = 4.69) with 7.43 years of sales experience (SD = 3.72).
3.1. Participants and data collection

We tested our model using lagged, multisource data that included 3.2. Measures
employee and supervisor sources, and objective archival performance
outcomes from a Fortune 250 industrial goods and services supplier. Table 1 provides the means, standard deviations, correlations, as
Employees in this firm are organized in teams to sell and service geo- well as measurement validity statistics. All variables were measured
graphic territories to meet formally defined team quotas. This context is using established scales. Based on referent-shift logic (Chan, 1998), we
particularly suited to test our model because the firm's goods and ser- used the team and the manager as referents for the items in our em-
vices are highly technical, with new innovations introduced multiple ployee surveys, and aggregated responses to the team level. We assessed
times a year, making the extensive knowledge domain unsuitable for within-team agreement, rwg(j), group-level effect size, ICC(1), and in-
compartmentalization by any given individual. Rather, teams collec- terrater reliability, ICC(2) to determine whether aggregation was jus-
tively have knowledge “housed” within members for particular tified (Chen & Bliese, 2002). Although some items had rwg(j) values

D.G. Bachrach, R. Mullins Journal of Business Research 96 (2019) 297–308

below the 0.70 threshold, we followed Chen, Mathieu, and Bliese 3.2.3. Team performance
(2005) and retained all available cases for analysis. We abided by a We operationalized performance using an objective measure of
threshold of ICC(1) greater than 0.05 as evidence for group-level ef- teams' archived quarterly sales totals relative to an established target
fects, while ICC(2) values greater than 0.50 served as evidence for re- referred to as percentage of quota (Mathieu, Maynard, Rapp, & Gilson,
liable group means (Bliese, 2000). 2008). Percentage of quota represents a conservative performance
measure because it controls potential contaminating factors such as
territory size, team ability and previous sales (Churchill Jr, Ford,
3.2.1. Employee responses Hartley, & Walker Jr., 1985). Because it is a visible and collective team
We used scales adapted from MacKenzie, Podsakoff, and Rich goal, percentage of quota has been used previously as a performance
(2001) to capture members' perception of their manager's transforma- outcome of team level processes (e.g., team efficacy; Rapp, Bachrach,
tional leadership (α = 0.97) (7 items) and transactional leadership beha- Rapp, & Mullins, 2014) and behavior (e.g., team helping behavior;
viors (α = 0.88) (3 items). Example items include “When leading our Ahearne, MacKenzie, Podsakoff, Mathieu, & Lam, 2010). Team sales
team, my manager leads by example,” and “When leading our team, my quotas were established by an outside consultant based on a number of
manager always gives positive feedback when a team member performs factors including territory size and customer density which helps con-
well.” While TFL is often modeled as a higher order construct, several trol extraneous factors.
studies find equally good fit and greater parsimony with single factor
model using selected scale items from each dimension (e.g., Barling, 3.2.4. Control variables
Loughlin, & Kelloway, 2002; Boichuk et al., 2014; Bono & Judge, 2003). Previous research reveals that team-based factors such as experience
In line with these studies, we measured TFL by drawing 4 items across (Rapp et al., 2014), reward structure (Beersma et al., 2003) and de-
the subdimensions of core TFL and 1 item each from the other 3 di- mographics (Horwitz & Horwitz, 2007) are likely to play a role in ex-
mensions. As is typically found, these items were highly interrelated, plaining team-based constructs. Thus, we covaried additional team-
with interitem correlations between 0.81 and 0.88 before aggregation. level variables – average team industry experience, competitive reward
Exploratory factor analysis also revealed that the items formed a single climate (Yilmaz & Hunt, 2001), and gender diversity (i.e., average of
factor that explained 85% of the variance among the 7 items. Thus, we the coded gender variable across the team where 0 = male; 1 = female)
combined the selected scale items to form a single TFL factor. For TAL, to help rule out alternative explanations for our findings. We adopted a
we initially drew two items for each of the two dimensions. However, a summary index model to aggregate these variables (Chan, 1998) using
reverse scored item exhibited poor loading and was removed from the the average value derived from each team, which aligns with previous
analysis. With the remaining 3 items, we still found strong evidence for research (Chen & Bliese, 2002). Adopting a conservative approach, we
a single factor scale with high interitem correlations (0.78–0.85) and a included previous team performance as an additional covariate in our
single factor explaining 73% of the variance among the items. Thus, we analysis, and we also covary TFL with TAL, given their positive asso-
combined the remaining 3 items to form a single TAL factor. To oper- ciation.
ationalize team level measures, TFL and TAL were indexed as the
average rating across members of each team. Both constructs exhibited 3.3. Analysis
good consistency (median rwg(j) = 0.77 and 0.76), strong evidence of
group effects (ICC(1) = 0.34, (F = 4.64, p = .000) and 0.19, (F = 2.60, We conducted a single-level confirmatory factor analysis to examine
p = .000)) and good reliability (ICC(2) = 0.78 and 0.62). whether our latent measures captured distinct constructs. Following
We measured TMS using 13 items adapted from Lewis (2003) re- recommendations by Hu and Bentler (1991), we used a combination of
sulting in strong reliability (α = 0.92). Sample items included “Dif- fit index thresholds to provide evidence of model fit. Model fit results
ferent team members are responsible for expertise in different areas,” indicated the latent measurement model fit the data well
and “My team has a lot of faith in each team member's ‘expertise’.” To (χ2(224) = 762.45, p < .01; RMSEA = 0.06, CFI = 0.96;
ensure the validity of TMS as a second-order factor, consistent with how SRMR = 0.05). All indicators loaded significantly on their respective
the construct is typically measured, we conducted a confirmatory factor constructs.
analysis to support the use of the three related first-order factors (e.g., Prior to discussing the results, it is important to acknowledge that
specialization, credibility, coordination) as indicators of TMS (Lewis, while some variables were formed through aggregation (i.e., leadership
2003). Results demonstrated strong fit (χ2(62) = 282.25, p < .01; behaviors, TMS), these variables were collected from team members'
RMSEA = 0.07, CFI = 0.96; SRMR = 0.05), providing support for TMS reports. Thus, there was potential for common method variance (CMV)
as a second-order factor. We operationalized TMS at the team-level by to inflate variable associations. We took several steps to detect and
indexing average ratings across team members. This approach showed mitigate potential CMV. We followed Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee, and
high consistency (median rwg(j) = 0.72) and good evidence of group Podsakoff's (2003) guidance for ex ante considerations by using sepa-
effects and reliability (ICC(1) = 0.13; (F = 2.06, p = .000); rate sources (salespeople, sales managers, archival data) for the pre-
ICC(2) = 0.52), supporting aggregation to the team level. dictor and criterion variables. In addition, the survey was designed to
ensure concise measurement, randomly ordered items, and that parti-
cipants understood their anonymous status. Regarding ex post con-
3.2.2. Manager responses siderations our results indicate significant interaction effects. This un-
We also drew responses from team managers to capture market dermines the plausibility of implicit theories of CMV a driver of our
dynamism, measured using five items from previous research (e.g., results (Siemsen, Roth, & Oliveira, 2010).
Jayachandran, Sharma, Kaufman, & Raman, 2005; Rapp, Trainor, &
Agnihotri, 2010). This scale also demonstrated strong reliability 4. Results
(α = 0.85) with sample items such as “In our district, customer pre-
ferences change frequently.” Following previous research (De Dreu, 4.1. Model specification testing
2007), team tenure was assessed by asking each team manager how long
the majority of current team members had been on the team. We op- Because our model encompassed multiple dependent variables, in-
erationalized team size based on the firm's organizational hierarchy, cluding latent interactions, we used covariance-based structural equa-
which was used to link team member and manager responses. As an tion modeling (SEM). This approach provides a robust option to test
additional check, we asked managers to confirm team size reported in theoretical questions such as those present in the model we describe.
the hierarchy (De Dreu, 2007). We mean-centered all focal model variables to reduce multicollinearity

D.G. Bachrach, R. Mullins Journal of Business Research 96 (2019) 297–308

Table 2 related to TMS (β = −0.25, p < .01); supporting Hypothesis 1b. To

Structural equation modeling results. illustrate this interaction (Fig. 2a), as well as those that follow, we
Main effects model Full effects model adopted Cohen, Cohen, West, and Aiken's (2013) approach, using
simple slopes analysis to plot this effect.
β SE β SE
4.2.2. Transactional leadership, team tenure, and TMS
DV: Transactive memory system
Transformational leadership 0.45⁎⁎ (0.12) 0.47⁎⁎ (0.09) In support of Hypothesis 2a, we predict and find a significant, po-
Transactional leadership 0.34⁎⁎ (0.12) 0.41⁎⁎ (0.09) sitive association between TAL and TMS (β = 0.41, p < .01). In
Hypothesis 2b we predict that team tenure weakens this relationship,
Team gender diversity 0.09 (0.08) 0.03 (0.04) and find that the interaction between TAL and team tenure has a sig-
Team industry experience −0.07 (0.08) −0.06 (0.04) nificant negative effect on TMS (β = −0.23, p < .01). Fig. 2b illus-
Team size −0.10 (0.08) −0.05 (0.04) trates this effect. Together, we find support for both H2 a and b.
Team tenure 0.12 (0.08) 0.09 (0.06)

Interactions 4.2.3. TMS, market dynamism, and team performance

Transformational leadership × – – −0.25⁎⁎ (0.08)
Hypothesis 3a posited that TMS is positively associated with team
team size
Transactional leadership × – – −0.23⁎⁎ (0.08)
performance. We find support for this link (β = 0.40, p < .05). In
team tenure Hypothesis 3b, we propose that the relationship between TMS and team
DV: Team performance performance is strengthened in dynamic markets. In support of
Transactive memory system 0.40⁎⁎ (0.18) 0.44⁎ (0.26) Hypothesis 3b, we find that the interaction between market dynamism
Covariates and TMS has a significant and positive effect on team performance
Previous performance 0.27⁎⁎ (0.11) 0.14 (0.10) (β = 0.54, p < .01). We illustrate this significant influence in Fig. 2c.
Transformational leadership −0.07 (0.17) −0.08 (0.11)
To fully test Hypothesis 4 we followed Preacher, Rucker, and Hayes
Transactional leadership −0.10 (0.18) −0.03 (0.12)
Team gender diversity −0.18 (0.11) −0.08 (0.07) (2007), and implemented the model indirect syntax in Mplus. For
Team industry experience 0.13 (0.11) 0.10 (0.07) Hypotheses 4a and b, we focused on the conditional indirect effect of
Team tenure −0.13 (0.11) −0.10 (0.07) market dynamism on the indirect relationship between leadership and
Competitive reward climate −0.04 (0.14) −0.04 (0.12) team performance. We found that the indirect relationship between
Market dynamism −0.14 (0.12) −0.12 (0.11)
both forms of leadership and team performance is stronger under high
Interactions market dynamism, providing support for both Hypotheses 4a and b.
Transactive memory – – 0.54⁎⁎ (0.16)
Specifically, the unstandardized indirect relationship between TFL and
system × market dynamism
Δdf – 3 team performance as mediated by TMS is positive for high market dy-
−2Log-likelihood 2362.83 2332.04 namism (B = 2.37, p < .01; 95% CI [0.80, 3.94]), and negative but
−2LL change – 30.79⁎⁎ insignificant at low market dynamism (B = −0.28, p > .10; 95% CI
AIC 2462.83 2438.05
[−1.53, 0.97]). The effect of the difference between the two conditions
BIC 2423.65 2396.52
was 2.65 with a 95% CI of [0.82, 4.47]. Similarly, the unstandardized
p < .01. indirect relationship between TAL and team performance through TMS
⁎ is positive under high market dynamism (B = 1.69, p < .01; 95% CI
p < .05.
[0.55 2.82]) while having a negative, but not significant relationship
and facilitate interpretation of interaction effects. We tested two suc- under low market dynamism (B = −0.20, p > .10; 95% CI [−1.09,
cessive models to allow nested model fit comparisons. In Table 2, we 0.69]). The effect of the difference between the two conditions was 1.88
provide these comparisons using log-likelihoods, as well as the Akaike's with a 95% CI of [0.57, 3.20].
information criterion (AIC) and Bayesian information criterion (BIC)
indexes. We first fit a main-effects only model that included all controls 4.3. Additional robustness checks
and main effects. This model demonstrated strong fit (χ2(82) = 99.95,
p > .05; RMSEA = 0.05, CFI = 0.95; SRMR = 0.07). The final model As an additional robustness check, we tested an alternative model
was built from the main effects model by including the proposed in- specifying market dynamism to interact with the antecedents of TMS.
teractions. To accommodate the latent interaction in our model (TMS x We specified an alternative model where market dynamism moderates
Market Dynamism) we applied the latent moderated structural equa- the relationships between TFL, TAL, and TMS. Results indicated that the
tions method (Klein & Moosbrugger, 2000) using MPlus software. alternative moderator specification did not significantly improve model
Standard fit indices are not available when employing the numerical fit as compared to the main effects model (Δχ2(3) = 4.25, p > .10,
integration procedure with this approach, so we used a scaled log- AIC = 2464.19, BIC = 2422.65). However, while the interactions did
likelihood difference test to compare the fit between models 2 and 3. not achieve significance, we did find that the interaction between TFL
Nested model comparisons showed significant improvement in fit and market dynamism was positive (β = 0.20, SE = 0.12) and the in-
(Δχ2(3) = 30.79, p < .01), providing strong support for the proposed teraction between TAL and market dynamism was negative
model. (β = −0.22, SE = 0.14), suggesting that future research should ex-
amine for potential differential contingencies for leadership approaches
and TMS.
4.2. Hypothesis testing Given the relative difference in effect sizes, we also examined
whether one of the two leadership styles had a greater effect on TMS.
4.2.1. Transformational leadership, team size, and TMS We tested differences between these leadership effects by constraining
Table 2 presents the SEM coefficient estimates for our hypothesized both effects to be equal and compared the fit of the constrained model
model. Hypothesis 1a posits a positive association between TFL and with that of the unconstrained model using chi-square values. Results
TMS. As can be seen in the full effects model, we find support for this showed that the difference between the constrained and unconstrained
link as TFL is significantly, positively associated with TMS (β = 0.47, models was not significant (Δχ2(1) = 2.84, p > .10), providing little
p < .01). Building on this relationship, Hypothesis 1b predicts that evidence of differential effects between TFL and TAL on TMS. However,
team size weakens the link between TFL and TMS. Results show that the this finding substantiates the importance of each leadership approach to
interaction between TFL and team size was significantly, negatively enacting TMS in the sales team context.

D.G. Bachrach, R. Mullins Journal of Business Research 96 (2019) 297–308

a High Team Size

c High Market Dynamism
7 Average Market Dynamism

Transative Memory System

Average Team Size

Team Performance
Low Team Size Low Market Dynamism

(% to Quota)


4 98
Low Transformational High Transformational Low Transactional High Transactional
Leadership Leadership Memory System Memory System

7 High Team Tenure
Transative Memory System

Average Team Tenure

Low Team Tenure

Low Transactional High Transactional
Leadership Leadership

Fig. 2. a: The effect of team size on the relationship between transformational leadership and transactive memory system.
b: The effect of team tenure on the relationship between transactional leadership and transactive memory system.
c: The effect of market dynamism on the relationship between transactive memory system and team performance.

Foundational leadership theory also suggests – although little em- antecedents of TMS, we found that both TFL (Hypothesis 1a) and TAL
pirical research has explored the speculation – that there may be an (Hypothesis 2b) are positively associated with TMS. Here, with the aim
augmentation effect (an interaction) between transformational and of expanding insight into antecedents of TMS - an established driver of
transactional leadership (Bass & Avolio, 1993). We explored the pos- team performance - we sought to broaden the range of performance-
sibility of an interaction between TAL and TFL, and found a positive, critical consequences of leadership with a focus on TMS.
but not significant effect (b = 0.07, p > .10). While we did not find These findings compliment previous leadership research which has
support for the augmentation effect in current study, the positive effect focused on the influence of a range of dimensions of leadership on
does provide some evidence that in larger samples of teams, with patterns of follower behavior, from identification and engagement to
greater power, it might be possible to detect this type of augmentation job self-efficacy, trust and communication (e.g., Boies, Fiset, & Gill,
effect. Together, these results provide additional empirical support for 2015; Hannah, Schaubroeck, & Peng, 2016; Hoffman, Bynum, Piccolo,
our proposed dual process leadership framework. & Sutton, 2011; Ng, 2017). Further, our results simultaneously extend
the breadth of important leadership consequences and TMS ante-
cedents, while also expanding the functional levers available to man-
5. Discussion agers to encourage development of TMS. It will be important for future
research to continue to expand the range of leadership antecedents in
In response to growing reliance on teams to overcome the chal- this domain to provide managers with a larger toolset with the potential
lenges of expanding employee knowledge requirements, managers need
to drive TMS.
insight into conditions under which different forms of leadership are Further, in recognition that leadership effectiveness is likely con-
most useful for leveraging TMS to enhance team performance. With this
tingent on attributes of the team context, we introduced team size
focus, building from a contingency theory frame, we develop and test a (Hypothesis 1b) and team tenure (Hypothesis 2b) as moderators of the
model of leadership, TMS, and team performance. We first aimed to
relationships between TFL, TAL, and TMS respectively. Although we
broaden the range of TMS antecedents to include multiple dimensions found significant main effects for both forms of leadership, these effects
of leadership behavior. Further, we approached this question with the
must be interpreted in light of significant higher order effects suggestive
recognition that the impact of different leader behaviors on TMS likely of the importance of various aspects of team context as important
depends on team characteristics that influence the fit of these ap-
boundary conditions. Consistent with the contingency frame we adopt,
proaches with the characteristics of the team. what emerges is that TFL is more highly associated with TMS in smaller
Toward this goal, we tested relationships between TMS with both
teams, while TAL is more highly associated with TMS in teams with
TFL and TAL, and the moderating role of team size and team tenure in
lower levels of tenure. This suggests that leaders seeking to drive TMS
these relationships, respectively. Continuing with the implications of
should strongly consider the potential role played by various team at-
contingency theory in this context, and building from TMS research
tributes in the effectiveness of these leadership approaches. It will be
reporting benefits of TMS for team adaptivity (Marques-Quinteiro et al., important for future research to explore a broader range of moderators
2013) we also examined the moderating role of market dynamism in
of the leadership-TMS relationship.
the TMS – team performance relationship in the sales team context. The Seeking to ground our research within the broader TMS domain, we
contingent indirect effects model we tested advances theoretical un-
also examined the relationship between TMS and sales team perfor-
derstanding of relationships between leadership, TMS, and sales team mance (Hypothesis 3a). Consistent with TMS theory and empirical
performance. Consistent with our focus on expanding leadership

D.G. Bachrach, R. Mullins Journal of Business Research 96 (2019) 297–308

evidence from the literature, and while controlling teams' previous and intra-team coordination critical to development of TMS.
performance, we found that TMS is significantly positively associated This focus also begs the question of the role of followership in the
with a conservative, objective measure of sales performance reflecting relationship between these dimensions of leadership and TMS (Uhl-
teams' archived quarterly sales totals relative to established sales tar- Bien, Riggio, Lowe, & Carsten, 2014), which may be of particular re-
gets. This result speaks directly to the importance of TMS as a team levance given the interdependencies inherent to the processes and
performance accelerator in the sales context, which is a relatively new structure that define TMS. For example, while Uhl-Bien and Pillai
setting for TMS research (e.g., Bachrach et al., 2017). Further, con- (2007) referred to followership as deference to leadership, DeRue and
tinuing from the contingency frame we describe, and in an effort to Ashford (2010) characterized followership as granting some form of
address calls from the literature bearing on moderators of the TMS – leadership identity to another while simultaneously adopting follo-
team performance relationship (Ren & Argote, 2011), consistent with wership identity for oneself. What these depictions share is the explicit
the expectation that information-processing hurdles are steeper when deference of one (or multiple) members of a collective to another (or
market dynamism is higher (Dess & Beard, 1984), we found that the multiple) other members. TMS depends on differentiation of domain
relationship between TMS and team performance is significantly expertise, and reliance on other (central) members for expertise in non-
stronger when market dynamism is higher (Hypothesis 3b). This sug- overlapping domains, who have control over a specific domain of in-
gests greater fit between the processes and structures present in sales formation/knowledge. Thus, fundamentally, in a functioning TMS
teams operating a TMS with the operating environment when market members defer to other members for expertise (or leadership) in do-
dynamism is high. mains for which they do not have responsibility – and thus adopt a
It may be that when market dynamism is lower that the time, en- followership role in the context of TMS. Although no research in the
ergy, and effort expended in communication overhead relating to de- TMS domain has sought to explain the key role played by followership
velopment and maintenance of a TMS (MacMillan et al., 2004) re- in the development, and effective leveraging of TMS, it will be im-
presents a resource misallocation (Modi & Mishra, 2011). Although not portant for future research to build out, and systematically incorporate
significant, the relationships we uncover suggest that TMS may be less followership theory into the TMS conceptual frame.
useful in sales contexts when market dynamism is low. Finally, con- Our focus on the TMS-team performance link also provides a much-
sistent with the framing we develop in support of H1–3, we also found needed contribution to the literature on sales teams. Over the years,
that market dynamism moderates the strength of the mediated re- empirical studies focused on sales team performance have been rela-
lationships between TAL (Hypothesis 4a) and TFL (Hypothesis 4b) with tively scarce despite repeated calls for research in this area (e.g., Weitz
sales team performance through TMS, such that the mediated re- & Bradford, 1999), and the growing use of teams in the sales context
lationships are stronger under high market dynamism. (Jones, Dixon, Chonko, & Cannon, 2005). However, guided by the in-
creasing importance of information management in sales roles
5.1. Implications for theory and future research (Verbeke, Dietz, & Verwaal, 2011), we find that sales teams that ac-
tively catalogue, archive and systematically access knowledge and in-
Literally decades of leadership research speaks to the critical role of formation embedded in their teams generate better collective sales
leaders for team functioning (Morgeson, DeRue, & Karam, 2010). This outcomes. This distinction is important for two reasons. First, while
is significant since, although much is known about processes that previous research has shown that information sharing and knowledge
contribute to the emergence of TMS over time (e.g., Lewis et al., 2005), creation are drivers of sales team performance (Auh et al., 2014;
relatively little is known of the role played by leadership in this process. Menguc et al., 2013), our focus on TMS illustrates the importance of a
The current results suggest that TFL and TAL may both play an indirect differentiated knowledge storage system for enabling improved sales
role in sales teams' performance through TMS. Attention to TFL and team performance. Second, recent research has highlighted the effort
TAL is also an important point of focus for sales team leadership re- associated with knowledge sharing, noting that it can actually place a
search in light of the fact that previous studies have focused primarily significant resource burden on sales managers or expert peers within
on leader empowering behaviors (see Ahearne et al., 2010; Menguc the sales team (Hall, Mullins, Syam, & Boichuk, 2017). TMS should help
et al., 2013; Rapp, Ahearne, et al., 2010). avoid these kinds of “sharing burdens” by providing an efficient means
This pattern of relationships not only reifies the critical role played of knowledge storage and access across team members, ultimately
by leader behavior for achieving critical team outcomes in sales con- leading to greater balance in knowledge sharing responsibilities.
texts, but also points to important directions for future research in both Building from contingency theory, we also find that market dyna-
the leadership and TMS domains. It will be important for future re- mism can significantly impact the relationship between TMS and sales
search to continue to examine ways that leaders can contribute to the team performance. However, theory development and a fuller under-
emergence of TMS and thus indirectly to important team performance standing of the TMS-performance relationship depends on continued
outcomes. focus on factors with potential to impact this relationship. For example,
From this perspective, the collective performance value of leaders Lewis and Herndon (2011) categorized tasks to reflect “three elemental
materializes less as a consequence of their impact on performance di- processes” (p. 1258), labeled “produce,” “choose,” and “execute” tasks.
rectly, and more as a consequence of their impact on their teams' ability Lewis and Herndon (2011) argued that the performance benefits of TMS
to deliver performance. Leaders' capability to hasten development of are likely strongest in teams “…for which performance depends on
TMS is of critical importance given increasing dynamism in team access to diverse knowledge, …a division of the cognitive labor for the
membership (Mathieu, Tannenbaum, Donsbach, & Alliger, 2014), task, …efficient coordination of members' activities, and new learning
which can diminish the impact of collective learning (Anderson & that occurs during task processing” (p. 1259). Thus, another area for
Lewis, 2014; Lewis et al., 2007). In light of consistent emphasis in future research will be a further focus on proximal moderators, such as
leadership research on understanding different leadership styles task type, as well as distal factors with potential to impact the potency
(Antonakis, Avolio, & Sivasubramaniam, 2002), insight into relation- of TMS; this focus also informs potential differences relating to the
ships with TMS represents an opportunity for further theoretical de- performance implications of TMS for different kinds of performance
velopment; here, we extend points of intersection linking TMS and outcomes (Dai, Du, Byun, & Zhu, 2017).
leadership theory with a focus on both TFL and TAL. For example, re-
search exploring ethical leadership (Kacmar, Bachrach, Harris, & 5.2. Implications for practice
Zivnuska, 2011), which is promotion of normatively appropriate con-
duct among followers, indicates ethical leadership may help drive in- The current results offer several material implications for managers.
terpersonal behaviors with potential to hasten insight into who knows, First, we find that the strength of the relationship between TFL and TMS

D.G. Bachrach, R. Mullins Journal of Business Research 96 (2019) 297–308

depends on team size and that the relationship between TAL and TMS likely to be profitably deployed within the context of team training
depends on team tenure. Managers can leverage this insight to ap- (Moreland & Myaskovsky, 2000), a regularly occurring implementation
proach active generation of TMS within their work teams with an ex- within sales forces, where the effects of leadership are likely to be
plicit focus on team characteristics that have the potential to impact the magnified as sales team members both receive performance feedback
viability of particular leadership approaches. While TFL can lead to and have repeated opportunities to learn about one another's knowl-
cooperative interactions, enhancing coordination and communication edge and skills. Another important practical consideration centers
necessary for TMS, this is likely to be more difficult in larger teams due around members' role as domain experts within the TMS. Functionally,
in part to members' physical and psychological distance (Reagans & TMS enhances members' centrality in the team's expertise network, and
McEvily, 2003). Thus, expenditure of the time, energy, and effort to as a consequence their instrumental control in the functioning of the
develop TMS in larger sales teams via TFL may represent a misalloca- TMS. However, salespeople may not wish to take ownership control
tion of resources. Likewise, although Hood et al. (2014) argued that over a domain of expertise for various reasons such as a perceived time
TAL may encourage teams to develop and share member expertise maps commitment, lack of knowledge, or the fear of losing a competitive
crucial to development of TMS, the utility of this approach is likely to advantage over other sales team members. Thus, it will be essential for
depend on team tenure. In light of the negative interaction we observe, sales managers to match sales team members' perceptions of control
managers leveraging a TAL approach to drive TMS also may risk a and their desire for control in this knowledge/information exchange
misallocation of scare resources in teams with longer tenure. While system (Mullins, Bachrach, Rapp, Grewal, & Beitelspacher, 2015). Es-
both forms of leadership we examine have the potential to facilitate the tablishing control congruence may help sales managers to both hasten
processes and structures underlying TMS, it is critical that managers be the emergence of TMS, and also to magnify its performance potential.
aware of - and account for - team attributes likely to influence the
strength of these relationships. 5.3. Study limitations
In specific terms, sales leaders should develop distinct leadership
strategies that explicitly incorporate team tenure, team size, and market The conclusions we draw should be contextualized against the
dynamism. When sales teams are smaller, transformational leadership limitations of our design. First, although we adopted a lagged design
is likely to be a more effective approach to generating TMS, which will coinciding with the serial nature of our model, we did not collect
benefit sales team performance when market dynamism is higher. Sales longitudinal data allowing us to evaluate changes over time or to
managers can diagnose market dynamism with a focus on the frequency substantiate causal inferences. Thus, the best we can conclude is that
with which customers look for new products, for example, modify their the current results provide support for our conclusions; that team at-
product preferences, and the consistency of new customers' product- tributes impact the strength of the relationships between discrete forms
related needs with those of current customers. When market dynamism of leadership with TMS, and that market dynamism impacts the
is higher, sales managers are likely to benefit from investing scarce strength of the relationship between TMS and team performance. It will
resources in transformational leadership. This approach is likely to be be important for future longitudinal and experimental research to ex-
less effective in larger sales teams. plore relationships between leadership and TMS to substantiate the
However, TMS theory and research has progressed from a focus on inferences we draw. Second, although we measured objective perfor-
the nature and consequences of this complex knowledge sharing system mance following the study survey, it is possible participants were aware
within relational dyads to emergent speculation relating to firm-level of their team's performance at the time of the survey, impacting their
outcomes (Heavey & Simsek, 2015). Thus, TMS functions in collectives ratings. For example, Staw (1975) (and others – e.g., Bachrach,
across a wide spectrum of sizes. Although we find less utility for Bendoly, & Podsakoff, 2001) have reported that correlations between
transformational leadership within larger teams, sales managers could evaluations of team processes and performance may be artificially in-
effectively leverage transformational approaches within sub-sets of their flated as a consequence of the attributions evaluators make to explain
sales teams – even to the level of the dyad – in dynamic markets. team performance. Although we control prior team performance, it is
Transformational sales leaders also could consider deploying smaller possible raters' awareness of their team's performance may have ac-
teams in an effort to generate benefits from TMS. We also find that counted for variation in ratings of TMS.
transactional approaches are more effective in generating sales per-
formance for lower tenured teams. Thus, in dynamic markets sales 6. Conclusion
managers leading newer teams also are likely to generate measurable
sales returns with an explicit transactional focus. This approach should The contingent indirect effects model of leadership and TMS we
be tempered, however, as teams gain more experience. report was intended to accomplish several goals; develop theory ex-
Investment of scarce resources in developing TMS through trans- tending the breadth of antecedents associated with TMS to include a
actional approaches should be undertaken in conjunction with a spe- range of leadership behaviors, provide insight into boundary conditions
cific focus on market conditions. Sales managers may be less likely to of these relationships, and advance what we know of contextual mod-
generate tangible returns on these investments when information pro- erators impacting the TMS-sales team performance relationship. We
cessing hurdles are lower, and decision effectiveness depends less on extend leadership theory in the TMS area and have also begun to shed
integrated and coordinated knowledge and expertise (e.g., under lower some light on the interrelationships between leadership, TMS, and sales
dynamism). When decision-making and task execution are more pre- team performance. We offer a framework to help understand conditions
dictable, the synchronization costs of generating TMS – or “commu- under which different forms of leadership may be effective for lever-
nication overhead” (MacMillan et al., 2004) may generate in- aging TMS to enhance sales team performance. Practical and theoretical
efficiencies. Resources diverted toward TMS may be misallocated development will require continued focus in this important area of re-
because the decision speed and breadth afforded by TMS are less re- search.
levant in placid markets (Modi & Mishra, 2011). Dr. Daniel (Dan) Bachrach (PhD Indiana University) is a Professor
For salespeople organized within a team structure and sales man- of Management and the Robert C. and Rosa P. Morrow Faculty
agers who encourage knowledge sharing and integration within their Excellence Fellow at the University of Alabama's Culverhouse College of
sales teams, our study offers practical ways to leverage the inherent Commerce. He is the coauthor/coeditor of 9 books and more than 50
knowledge of each sales team member for sales team performance. The articles published in numerous prestigious journals including Journal of
current results suggest that, depending on team characteristics, mul- Applied Psychology, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Operations
tiple forms of leadership have the potential to drive the emergence of Management, Production and Operations Management, Journal of
TMS. TMS research suggests that these leadership behaviors also are Management, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes,

D.G. Bachrach, R. Mullins Journal of Business Research 96 (2019) 297–308

Organization Science, Decision Sciences, and Personnel Psychology. He was Cha, J., Kim, Y., Lee, J. Y., & Bachrach, D. G. (2015). Transformational leadership and
awarded the 2017–2018 National Alumni Association Outstanding inter-team collaboration: Exploring the mediating role of teamwork quality and the
moderating role of team size. Group and Organization Management, 40, 715–743.
Commitment to Teaching Award, which is the University of Alabama's Chan, D. (1998). Functional relations among constructs in the same domain at different
highest honor for excellence in teaching, and sits on the editorial boards levels of analysis: A typology of composition models. Journal of Applied Psychology,
83, 234.
of the Journal of Applied Psychology and Organizational Behavior and Chen, G., & Bliese, P. D. (2002). The role of different levels of leadership in predicting
Human Decision Processes. self-and collective efficacy: evidence for discontinuity. Journal of Applied Psychology,
Dr. Ryan Mullins (PhD University of Houston) is an associate 87, 549–556.
Chen, G., Mathieu, J. E., & Bliese, P. D. (2005). A framework for conducting multi-level
professor of Marketing at Clemson University. Dr. Mullins is working on construct validation. Multi-level issues in organizational behavior and processes (pp.
research projects related to sales effectiveness, branding, team selling, 273–303). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Chiang, Y. H., Shih, H. A., & Hsu, C. C. (2014). High commitment work system, trans-
customer relationship management, and sales leadership. Ryan's work
active memory system, and new product performance. Journal of Business Research,
has appeared in the Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of 67, 631–640.
Marketing Science, Journal of Applied Psychology, Industrial Marketing Churchill, G. A., Jr., Ford, N. M., Hartley, S. W., & Walker, O. C., Jr. (1985). The de-
terminants of salesperson performance: A meta-analysis. Journal of Marketing
Management, and the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Research, 22, 103–118.
Management. Dr. Mullins also serves the field through his associations Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2013). Applied multiple regression/cor-
with marketing journals across domains. Ryan actively serves on the relation analysis for the behavioral sciences. London, UK: Routledge.
Dai, Y., Du, K., Byun, G., & Zhu, X. (2017). Ambidexterity in new ventures: The impact of
editorial review boards at the Journal of Service Research and the new product development alliances and transactive memory systems. Journal of
Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management. In addition, he Business Research, 75, 77–85.
Davis, J. P., Eisenhardt, K. M., & Bingham, C. B. (2009). Optimal structure, market dy-
serves as an ad-hoc reviewer at several marketing journals and is a namism, and the strategy of simple rules. Administrative Science Quarterly, 54,
guest co-editor for a special issue on selling teams at Industrial 413–452.
Marketing Management. Day, D. V., Gronn, P., & Salas, E. (2004). Leadership capacity in teams. The Leadership
Quarterly, 15, 857–880.
De Dreu, C. K. W. (2007). Cooperative outcome interdependence, task reflexivity, and
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