What motivates knowledge seeking?

[German title: Was motiviert zur Suche nach Wissen (Translate text to: Deutsch)]

Are norms enough? The role of collaborative norms in promoting organizational knowledge seeking
Gee-Woo Bock, Atreyi Kankanhalli and Sanjeev Sharma
European Journal of Information Systems (2006) 15, 357–367.

Abstract: Knowledge sharing, which is critical for the strategic utilization of knowledge resources for the benefit of an organization, can only take place when both knowledge contribution and knowledge seeking exist. However, most previous research has focused on only one side of this process – knowledge contribution motivations. This is despite the fact that various barriers to knowledge seeking and reuse exist, such as the effort required to seek relevant knowledge and the cost of future obligation. In overcoming such barriers, norms related to collaboration are considered to be important. However, little is known of how these norms operate in conjunction with other antecedents to influence individuals’ knowledge seeking behavior. Addressing the knowledge gap, this study explores how collaborative norms in an organization impact knowledge seeking with regard to a common knowledge management system type – the electronic knowledge repository (EKR). For this purpose, we have developed a model and tested it through a survey of EKR users in knowledge-intensive organizations. Our results indicate that collaborative norms positively impact individuals’ knowledge seeking behavior through EKRs, both directly and through reducing the negative effect of future obligation on seeking. However, collaborative norms could also undermine the positive impact of perceived usefulness on knowledge seeking behavior. We identify other antecedents of knowledge seeking such as knowledge growth, resource-facilitating conditions, and self-efficacy. Implications for research and knowledge sharing practice are discussed.

Keywords: collaborative norms, knowledge seeking, electronic knowledge repository, decomposed theory of planned behavior, social exchange theory

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© 2006 Palgrave Macmillan Ltd