This article focuses on research undertaken within the military domain by the HFI-DTC using a network approach within a schemata theoretical framework to understand the structural aspects of social tasks and situated cognition. This research has led to developments of ideas on distributed cognition, based on the analysis of networks team awareness in distributed tasks. In this article we extend the ideas of distributed situation awareness to consider compatible and transactive awareness in collaborative environments. it is suggested that in these systems compatibility in the awareness of system agents is essential for task performance. Any exchange of awareness 'elements' is more like a transaction than a 'sharing' of awareness, because agents relate the information to their own personal goals and tasks. Examples are presented to illustrate these concepts. It is proposed that by examination of the phenotype schemata (through interviews, transcripts, observation and task analysis), one may begin to understand the underlying genotype schemata. Crown Copyright (C) 2008 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.