Both practitioners and researchers recognize the increasing importance of knowledge sharing in organizations (Bock, Zmud, Kim, & Lee, 2005; Vera-Muz, Ho, & Chow, 2006). Knowledge sharing influences a firm's knowledge creation, organizational learning, performance achievement, growth, and competitive advantage (Bartol & Srivastava, 2002; Bock & Kim, 2002; Vera-Muz et al., 2006). However, an individual's natural tendency is to hoard knowledge rather than to share knowledge (Davenport, 1997; Ruggles, 1998). So, how can knowledge sharing be encouraged?
Extrinsic rewards are believed to effectively motivate desired behaviors (Bartol & Locke, 2000). Under certain environmental conditions, extrinsic rewards are also believed to develop a more sustained motivation, called self-determined motivation, for these behaviors (Deci & Ryan, 1991). These ideas raise the following questions: (a) Do extrinsic rewards motivate students to share knowledge? and (b) How can universities encourage individuals to develop the self-determined motivation to take part in desired behaviors such as knowledge sharing?
This study investigates the effect of extrinsic rewards on knowledge sharing in a team setting. It also examines whether universities can facilitate individuals' continued or self-determined motivation to share knowledge using certain environmental conditions. To examine these questions, I perform an experiment with 113 undergraduate students from accounting and management classes who are working on team projects. Results suggest that specifically rewarding knowledge sharing can increase individuals' knowledge-sharing behaviors and, in the right environment, their internalization of the motivation to share knowledge.
Shoemaker, Nikki, "Can Universities Encourage Students Continued Motivation For Knowledge Sharing And How Can This Help Organizations?" (2014). Faculty Publications. 15.
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