What motivates employees to transfer knowledge outside their work unit?

Diana Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although intrafirm knowledge transfer is linked with higher productivity and organizational survival, information sharing across units remains a challenge. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, motivations predictive of employees' decisions to share and seek knowledge beyond their work group were examined in the present study. Results of a quantitative survey (N = 480) found that employees who perceived greater organizational rewards for sharing spent more hours sharing knowledge beyond their immediate work group. In contrast, employees who perceived knowledge as a means of achieving upward organizational mobility were less likely to share and somewhat more likely to seek information. In addition, employees were less motivated to share and seek knowledge beyond their work group to the extent that they believed that reciprocity norms governed information exchange and to the extent they identified more strongly with their subunit relative to the organization. Practical implications and directions for future research are explored in the concluding discussion of the article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-348
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Business Communication
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005

Keywords

  • Functional approach
  • Interunit communication
  • Knowledge management
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Motivation

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