Attitudes towards knowledge transfer in an environment to perform
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Management
Purpose - This paper seeks to determine attitudes that impact on knowledge transfer between academics (university teaching and research staff) employed in today's competitive, technology-based university setting. Design/methodology/approach - The study generated a rich set of data by conducting, first, an exploratory, qualitative study followed by a confirmatory, quantitative study Through this process, an initial list of 402 attitudes to knowledge transfer was derived which was narrowed to 75 for the quantitative survey which, through factor analysis, was further reduced to 24 variables. The 24 variables were grouped into four factors for which trust and motivation are more relevant to the knowledge provider and absorptive capacity and knowledge regeneration for the receiver. Findings - High levels of agreement were found for the propositions that senior academics lacked compensation for mentoring activities, and hence, the motivation to transfer knowledge, and that a heavy teaching load prevented the absorption of transferred knowledge. By contrast, disagreement was found with the propositions that an elderly age impeded the transfer of knowledge or adapting to new ways of transferring knowledge. Practical implications - From the responses obtained it was possible to identify those rated highly and from which conclusions could be drawn that may assist the university concerned to improve knowledge transfer among its academic staff. Compensation to senior academics for their time and effort was seen as the most important pre-requisite for knowledge transfer. A reduction in teaching loads and the range of expectations to which academics are subjected would also facilitate knowledge transfer as would increasing academics' use of ICT and ability to assess its effectiveness, as well as recognising that knowledge transfer during social interactions may ameliorate the lack of knowledge transfer in the more formal, technology-based environment. Originality/value - The paper identifies key attitudes of academics to transferring knowledge to colleagues in the changing work place at universities in which academics are expected to perform at a high level in diverse activities and use technology to maximise their efficiency and effectiveness.