Multiteam systems, virtuality, information sharing, efficacy, trust, shared cognition


Multiteam systems are an integral part of our daily lives. We witness these entities in natural disaster responses teams, such as the PB Oil Spill and Hurricane Katrina, governmental agencies, such as the CIA and FBI, working behind the scenes to preemptively disarm terrorist attacks, within branches of the Armed Forces, within our organizations, and in science teams aiming to find a cure for cancer (Goodwin, Essens, & Smith, 2012; Marks & Luvison, 2012). Two key features of the collaborative efforts of multiteam systems are the exchange of information both within and across component team boundaries as well as the virtual tools employed to transfer information between teams (Keyton, Ford, & Smith, 2012; Zaccaro, Marks, & DeChurch, 2012). The goal of this dissertation was to shed light on enabling the effectiveness of multiteam systems. One means of targeting this concern was to provide insight on the underpinnings of MTS mechanism and how they evolve. The past 20 years of research on teams supports the central role of motivational and affective states (Kozlowski & Ilgen, 2006; and Mathieu, Maynard, Rapp, & Gibson, 2008) as critical drivers of performance. Therefore it was my interest to understand how these critical team mechanisms unravel at the multiteam system level and understanding how they influence the development of other important multiteam system processes and emergent states. Specifically, this dissertation focused on the influence motivational and affective emergent states (such as multiteam efficacy and multiteam trust) have on shaping behavioral processes (such as information sharing-unique and open) and cognitive emergent states (such as Transactive memory systems and shared mental models). Findings from iv this dissertation suggest that multiteam efficacy is a driver of open information sharing in multiteam systems and both types of cognitive emergent states (transactive memory systems and shared mental models). Multiteam trust was also found to be a critical driver of open information sharing and the cognitive emergent state transactive memory systems. Understanding that these mechanisms do not evolve in isolation, it was my interest to study them under a growing contextual state that is continuously infiltrating our work lives today, under virtual collaboration. This dissertation sought to uncover how the use of distinct forms of virtual tools, media rich tools and media retrievability tools, enable multiteam systems to develop needed behavioral processes and cognitive emergent states. Findings suggest that the use of media retrievability tools interacted with the task mental models in promoting the exchange of unique information both between and within component teams of a multiteam system. The implications of these findings are twofold. First, since both motivational and affective emergent states of members within multiteam systems are critical drivers of behavioral processes, cognitive emergent states, and in turnmultiteam system performance; future research should explore how we can diagnose as well as target the development of multiteam system level efficacy and trust. Second, the virtual communication tools that providemultiteam systems members the ability to review discussed materials at a later point in time are critical for sharing information both within and across component teams depending on the level of shared cognition that multiteam system members possess of the task.Therefore the ability to encourage the use and provide such tools for collaborative purposes is beneficial for the successful collaboration of multiteam systems.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date





DeChurch, Leslie


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program

Psychology; Industrial and Organizational








Release Date

August 2012

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic