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The Effects of Occupational Commitment and Occopational Self-Efficacy on Knowlegde Sharing Behaviours

1. Introduction

Today, knowledge is regarded as one of the key concepts of being successful on personal and organizational level. Nevertheless, knowledge may also be short-lived and it may lose its value quickly, particularly if it is not exploited efficiently. Therefore, the importance of sharing knowledge is frequently emphasized by scholars (Gurteen, 1999).

Knowledge may be classified in many different ways, but in this study, it is categorized as explicit and tacit knowledge based on Polanyi’s (1966) conceptualization. Explicit knowledge comprises the knowledge in the books, documents, reports, and databases whereas tacit knowledge is the knowledge that is confined in the brains and experiences of workers (cited in Nonaka, 1994). Knowledge sharing behaviour is described as a desire of the individuals in an organization to share the knowledge that they obtained or created with the other individuals (Bock et al. 2005). By its nature, knowledge cannot move freely like a commercial good or service and its movement cannot be independent from the subject that possesses it (Hendriks, 1999, 92). On the contrary, one of the various natural human inclinations is the reluctance to share the knowledge at hand; and there are various reasons for this reluctance (Bock et al. 2005). Hence, various personal attributes of the individuals that possess the knowledge directly affect the knowledge sharing process. Among these various personal factors, this study investigates the effects of occupational commitment and occupational self-efficacy on knowledge sharing process.

Occupational commitment is described as an individual’s perception of his/her occupation’s importance level in his/her life (Can, Baysal & Paksoy, 1999). Previous studies that examined the relation between occupational commitment and knowledge sharing behaviour proposed that individuals who found commonalities between their beliefs and occupations have positive attitude and emotions towards their occupation (Aktaş & Gürkan, 2015). Moreover, the individuals who have high level of occupational commitment are proposed to care more about the development of their occupations and, hence, become more willing to share their knowledge (Lachman & Aranya, 1986; Lin, 2007). On the other hand, occupational self-efficacy is the level of competence that an individual believes he/she has regarding that individual’s ability to successfully undertake the duties and responsibilities of his/her occupation and it is considered a specific type of self-efficacy (Füllemen et al., 2015). Bock et al. (2005) found a positive relation between an individual’s self-efficacy perception and his/her attitude towards his/her knowledge sharing behaviour.

In domestic studies, knowledge sharing behaviour is mainly investigated on organizational level (Göksel et al., 2011; Yeniçeri & Demirel, 2007); the studies that investigate the knowledge sharing behaviour on individual level are extremely scarce. This study examines effects of personal factors such as occupational commitment and occupational self-efficacy on the knowledge sharing behaviours of physicians from the perspective of knowledge providing individual. 

2. Methods

Research included data collection from 251 dermatologists via delivered questionnaires and quantitative analysis of that data. “Knowledge sharing behaviour” is measured by a 10-item scale that established utilizing the scales of Bock et al. (2005), Chennamaneni (2006) and Swift & Virick (2013). “Occupational commitment” is measured by a 6-item scale that adapted from Lin et al. (2007, 425)’s organizational commitment scale. Lastly, “occupational self-efficacy” is measured by adapting Schyns & von Collani (2002, 221)’s scale to be appropriate for dermatologists. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses have been carried out to provide for the validity of research scales. Moreover, results of reliability analysis demonstrated that Cronbach’a Alpha levels of all the scales are above the acceptable level of 0.60 (Hair et al., 2000).

3. Findings and Discussion

Multiple linear regression analysis has been carried out to examine the nature and the strength of the effects of occupational commitment and occupational self-efficacy on the knowledge sharing behaviour. Analysis yielded a significant regression model (R2 = 0.159, F=23.466; p<0.001). Occupational commitment (β= 0.203; p< 0.05) and occupational self-efficacy (β= 0.250; p<0.001) are found to be significantly and positively affecting the knowledge sharing behaviour. This finding validates Swart et al. (2013) and Lin (2007)’s proposition that individuals with high level of occupational commitment will care for the development of their occupation and will therefore be more inclined to share their knowledge.

In this study, the effects of occupational commitment and occupational self-efficacy on the categories of knowledge were also investigated. When explicit knowledge sharing behaviour is treated as the dependent variable (R2 = 0.149, F=21.788; p<0.001), occupational commitment (β=0.177; p<0.05) and occupational self-efficacy (β= 0.260; p<0.001) are found to be significantly and positively affecting the explicit knowledge sharing behaviour. This result validates the previous studies which found a positive relation between occupational self-efficacy and knowledge sharing behaviour (Hsu et al., 2007, Ryu et al., 2003, Wasko & Faraj, 2005, Bock & Kim, 2005). Furthermore, when tacit knowledge sharing behaviour is treated as the dependent variable (R2 = 0.106, F=13.160; p<0.000), occupational commitment (β= 0.247; p<0.05) is found to be significantly and positively affecting the explicit knowledge sharing behaviour whereas the effect occupational self-efficacy (β= 0.121; p>0.05) is not found to be significant. This mainly contradicts with the previous literature (for e.g. Endres et al., 2007) and one possible reason for that may be the unwillingness of the individuals caused by the difficulties in sharing tacit knowledge (Hislop, 2003). 

4. Conclusion

Deriving from the results of this study, one may propose that increasing physicians’ occupational commitment and occupational self-efficacy may encourage their knowledge sharing behaviour. Knowledge sharing behaviour can never be enforced; it may only be supported, encouraged and improved. Therefore, the best way to increase the occurrence of knowledge sharing behaviour may be to stimulate the intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors behind it. The perception that knowledge belongs to the occupation should be favoured as oppose to the perception that knowledge belongs to individuals, particularly considering the physicians who perceive knowledge as a source of power and, hence, inclined to keep it for their own purposes.

Despite the importance of knowledge sharing behaviour both for individuals and for organizations, there is a scarce of work regarding its precursors and outcomes. Future studies might improve the knowledge sharing literature by focusing on the effects of the factors such as personal attributes, leadership styles, and trust on knowledge sharing behaviour. Knowledge sharing behaviour is peculiar to humans, so in order to understand it, one should first understand humans and the factors that motivate them to share their knowledge.

Anahtar Kelimeler
The Effects of Occupational Commitment and Occopational Self-Efficacy on Knowlegde Sharing Behaviours


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