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Understand the impact of core self-assessment and knowledge sharing behavior

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  • Save International Journal of Applied Psychology 2013, 3(1): 13-18 DOI: 10.5923/j.ijap.20130301.03 Towards an Understanding of the Effect of Core Self-Evaluations and Knowledge Sharing Behaviour Khairulbahiyah Yaakub*, Roziana Shaari, Siti Aisyah Panatik, Abdul Rahman Faculty of M anagement and Human Resource Development, Universiti Teknologi M alaysia, Skudai, 81310, Johor, M alaysia Abstract The journey to inculcate and establish knowledge sharing behaviour in organizations remains inco mplete. Across all of the studies on knowledge sharing, behaviour stood out as a significant variable. Knowledge sharing behaviour among individuals were assumed to be influenced by personality trait. Th is paper rev iews prev ious studies in order to provide a framewo rk for understanding on how personality trait, specifically core self-evaluation influence knowledge sharing behavior. Personality has been found to be useful in predict ing behavioural outcomes in knowledge sharing. There fore, this study aims to discuss the effect of core self-evaluations on knowledge sharing behavior. Additionally, this study also discusses the role of evaluation apprehension as a med iator in the relationship between core self-evaluation and knowledge sharing behavior among employees. The paper concludes with a general d iscussion of the future research directions and practical imp licat ions of knowledge sharing research, especially to the librarian academics. Keywords Knowledge Sharing Behaviour, Personality Traits, Core self-evaluations, Evaluation Apprehension, Academic Librarian 1. Introduction In t he current econo my , kno wledge stands out as an intellectual asset that prov ides a co mp etit ive advantage. Fro m the perspective of econo mic models, knowledge is desirable in decis ion-making and crit ically contributes to produ ct ion t hrough co mp eten ce an d innovat ion . Th us, knowledge deserves the attention of specific interventions in the sense that it does not lose its value but increases with use. Co mp an ies typ ically fo cus on kno wledg e creat ion by emp loying knowledge workers and creative th inkers, and incu lcat ing a learn ing env iron ment fo r futu re su rv ival. Reference[1] has estab lished a list o f top -ten ru les for organizational survival, with “managing knowledge” as the number one rule. The most challenging part in managing kn o wled g e is kn o wled ge s h aring [2]. Org an is at ion al culture[3], trust , incentives and rewards[2] and information technology[4] have been identified as factors that capacitate and stimulate knowledge sharing behaviour only in the early stages. Hu mans are co mp lex and un ique creatures whose behaviour changes according to self-interest. Therefore, the point of orig in for change lies in the indiv idual who must be mo t iv ated to s hare because he/sh e is t he o rig inato r, transferor and user of knowledge[5]. Nu merous researchers h ave fo cus ed o n ind iv id ual fact o rs as p red ict o rs to * Corresponding author: (Khairulbahiyah Yaakub) Published online at Copyright © 2013 Scientific & Academic Publishing. All Rights Reserved knowledge sharing behaviour[6-8]. Behaviour d ifferences among individuals were found to be influenced by personality and situation[9]. Personality is an important psychological mechanism that guides behaviour[10]. Hence, personality may be a factor closely related to the individual that affects one’s propensity for knowledge sharing. This paper discusses the relationship between core self-evaluatio ns—a broad personality concept that symbolizes positive self-regard to knowledge sharing behaviour. Th is study also proposes that evaluation apprehension will affect the relationship between core self-evaluation and knowledge sharing behaviour. Prior literature argued that evaluation apprehension is one of the obstacles in knowledge sharing [11]. Evaluation apprehension arises when indiv iduals are fearfu l or an xious that one’s knowledge may be evaluated unfavourably, especially when compared to that of others. Thus, we expect that evaluation apprehension mediates the relationship between core self-evaluations and knowledge sharing behaviour. 2. Theoretical Background and Literature Review This research investigates the involvement of positive personality factors that influence the behaviour to share. Knowledge sharing is a sensitive behaviour that combines both emotional exp ression and behavioural react ion[12]. Logically, positive emotions may act as an intrinsic motivation that makes knowledge sharing more interesting and fun[13] . However, factors affecting the readiness and 14 Khairulbahiyah Yaakub et al.: Towards an Understanding of the Effect of Core Self- Evaluations and Knowledge Sharing Behaviour willingness to share remain uncovered, and inspiring individuals to share remains a major challenge. To this end, the Social Cognitive Theory and the Cognitive Dissonance Theory are applied. themselves, other people, and the world” (p.18). 2.1. Social Cogniti ve Theory Social Cognitive Theory is based on Social Learning Theory. It involves a dynamic interplay among personal determinants, behaviour and environmental influences[14]. This theory clarifies how conceptions, beliefs, self-precepts and aspirations lead to the formation of a certain behaviour. Rationally, an individual who possesses positive personal determinants would portray positive behaviours. For example, mountaineering is a high-risk sport that is associated with ext reme physical endurance and hardships. But what makes a mountaineer still eager to climb? Obviously, without strong personal determinants, an individual would not have the courage to engage in such risky behaviour. The key factors that influence indiv idual behaviours are personality, perception, ability and learning[15] as shown in Figure 1. Figure 2. Core Self-Evaluations In this study, core self-evaluations will be measured as a global factor as it would achieve higher levels of validity and less variable[1]. That is specifically measure the core concept itself rather than the indicators of the concept. Co re self-evaluations are well-known for being the best predictor of job satisfaction[18]. An individual with h igh core self-evaluations exh ibits higher levels of emot ional intelligence[19] and positive cognitive ability[20]. Workers with high core self-evaluations are more motivated and productive[21] and perceive fewer stressors[22]. In addition, they tend to be better performers, and more keen on mu ltifaceted and complex tasks[23]. Therefo re, based on the literature rev iew, we propose that core self-evaluation will influence knowledge sharing behavior. 2.2. Cogniti ve Dissonance Theory Figure 1. Individual behaviour: key influential factors Previous research has shown that individuals who score high on personality inventories tend to be more motivated and enthusiastic about knowledge sharing[16]. Few researchers have attempted to determine the relationship between personality traits and knowledge sharing by adapting a personality traits model such as the Five Factor Model of Personality (FFM) or the Big Five Personality Model[16], self-efficacy[12] and self-esteem[17]. To our knowledge, there has not been an integrative effort to examine the relationship between core self-evaluations and knowledge sharing behaviour. We postulate that core self-evaluations may also contribute to the understanding of knowledge sharing. Core self-evaluations consist of: (a) self-esteem, an individual’s sense of self-worth; (b) generalized self-efficacy, an appraisal of one’s ability to perform across situations; (c) neuroticism, a tendency to express negative emotionality; and (d) locus of control, the perception that outcomes are contingent upon either personal behaviour or e xternal forces (see Figure 2). Developed by Judge, Locke and Du rham (1997), the concept of core self-evaluations is a broad and valid personality construct “which refer(s) to fundamental, subconscious conclusions individuals reach about Another theory that explains the relationship between individual factor and knowledge sharing behavior is the cognitive dissonance theory. The theory of cognitive dissonance by Festinger (1957) focuses on the important psychological processes of individuals, specifically on the connections among cognitions that form the elements of knowledge that individuals have about their behaviours, attitudes, perceptions, beliefs and environments. Cognitive refers to thought, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours which the individual is aware of. Dissonance refers to an unpleasant state of tension or arousal. When experiencing dissonance, an individual will try to reduce or escape this uncomfortable feeling by changing one’s behaviour or attitude. We rely on the theory of cognitive dissonance to explain the state of evaluation apprehension in our investigation. Cognitive dissonance, in our research context, exists when a person has two contradictory cognitions: to share or not to share knowledge. Evaluation apprehension has been defined as an individual’s “active an xiety-toned concern” that one may be evaluated negatively[24]. The feelings of anxiety become greater as one becomes more aware of others. We feel distracted and worried about our performance. Evaluation apprehension has been revealed to have a negative effect in several situations including learn ing performance[25], communicat ion[26] and task performance[27]. Personal competence and confidence are the major requirements for International Journal of Applied Psychology 2013, 3(1): 13-18 15 an individual to engage in knowledge sharing. However, evaluation apprehension may reduce one’s confidence level and restrain the intention of sharing[11]. It is owing to the existence of fear that one’s knowledge or idea could be evaluated or critiqued that one’s knowledge sharing behaviour is inhib ited. Evaluation apprehension may result fro m the perception that knowledge sharing is irrelevant or worthless to others in terms of quality and usefuless, and will draw reviews, assessments and criticism fro m others[28]. According to reference[29], cognitive d issonance also arises when there is inconsistency between what individuals already know or believe and new information received. Most likely, ind ividuals refuse to accept new incoming knowledge that may require them to discard the existing ones. In some cases, knowledge hoarding occurs within v irtual knowledge sharing communit ies when members are more an xious of being criticized as what they posted online may mislead others[30] and ‘fear to lose face’[31]. In normal situations, we tend to sustain our behaviour if the surroundings are safe and will not cause negative consequences or punishment. Besides, we feel honoured and willing contribute when we receive appropriate feedback and perceive that we are actually helping others. Ho wever, if we notice that nobody buys our ideas, we might withhold our knowledge. Therefore, being evaluated may cause pressure and dissatisfaction towards knowledge sharing. Thus we propose that low level of evaluation apprehension will increase knowledge sharing behavior. Previous research has also proven that core self-evaluatio ns have a positive effect on cognitive ability[32]. We predict that individuals with high core self-evaluations will have a strong cognitive ability capable o f overco ming dissonance. Furthermore, indiv iduals with high core self-evaluations tend to be more stable, believe in their own agency[33] and be able to perform tasks more consistently. Individuals with a positive view of themselves are able to face criticism and accept feedback more effectively [34]. They are affected less by negative evaluations and are able to face risks[17]. Logically, individuals with a positive outlook will perform confidently, believe in their capabilit ies to face any obstacles and eliminate defensive behaviours[35]. Positive personality traits such as trust[36] and openness[37] are likely to be mo re influenced by anxiety and tend to withdraw fro m knowledge sharing behaviour[10]. They are afraid of being crit iqued and evaluated by others. In our context, it is expected that high core self-evaluations will reduce evaluation apprehension and increase one’s motivation in sharing knowledge. Thus, we propose that high core self-eva luations will decrease the level of evaluation apprehension. As we investigate the possible relationship between core self-evaluations and knowledge sharing behaviour, we predict evaluation apprehension to be an obstacle. Hence evaluation apprehension will act as the mediating variable in this relationship (see Figure 3). Reference[38] describes a med iator as a variable that fully or partially accounts for the relation between an independent variable and a dependent variable, thus revealing why the variables are related. In this study, the motivation to share knowledge will depend on the level of evaluation apprehension. Under low evaluation apprehension, knowledge sharing behaviour will be positively exhib ited while the reverse will occur under high evaluation apprehension. This study will investigate core self-evaluations and knowledge sharing behaviour with evaluation apprehension as a mediator, in an effort to understand what leads to the enhancement of knowledge sharing behaviour. Figure 3. A Conceptual Framework 3. Methodology 3.1. Population & Sample The population for this study will co mprise of academic lib rarians from five research universities in Malaysia namely Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Malaya, Universit i Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Putra Malaysia. All part icipants are qualified professional librarians with grades VU7, S54, S52, S48, S44 and S41. The population consists of Head of Librarians, Deputy Chief Librarians, Head of Depart ments, Senior Officers and Officers. Librarians value the importance of knowledge sharing[39] and are aware that it is imperative for lib raries to promote innovation activities through knowledge sharing. Typically, academic librarians are focal in preservin g and developing knowledge that sustains research activities for the university. Hence, they work on transforming their relationship with facu lty members through collaboration and facilitating networking by integrating information technology[40]. In order for university libraries to remain relevant and competitive, management ought to encourage lib rarians to share their knowledge and ideas. 3.2. Data Collection The total population of academic librarians in public universities in Malaysia is six hundred and thirty-five. Based on[41], a representative sample size for this study is two hundred and forty-two. Therefore, two hundred and fourty two questionnaires will be d istributed. The instrument will be examined to ensure content validity and reliability within the target context. A pretest of the questionnaire will be performed to assess logical consistencies, ease of understanding, question item sequence adequacy and context fitn es s . 16 Khairulbahiyah Yaakub et al.: Towards an Understanding of the Effect of Core Self- Evaluations and Knowledge Sharing Behaviour 3.3. Construct Measurement REFERENCES The items used to measure knowledge sharing behaviour [1] Frances Cairncross, The Company of the Future: How the as dependent variables are adapted and modified fro m [42-44]. The instrument consists of fourteen (14) questions Communications Revolution Is Changing M anagement, Harvard Business Press, UK, 2002. and use five-point Likert-type scales (strongly disagree to [2] Xi Zhang, Zhenjiao Chen, Doug Vogel, M inghui Yuan, strongly agree). Meanwhile, the instrument to measure core self-evaluations is adapted from[33] which is a 12-item inventory that measures a single factor using five-point Chuanjie Guo, “Knowledge-sharing reward dynamics in knowledge management system : game theory-based empirical validation”, Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Human Factors and Ergonomics in M anufacturing & Services Likert-type scales (strongly disagree to strongly agree). Industries, vol.20, no.2, pp.103-122, 2010. These items will include statements about typical thoughts and feelings such as “I am confident I get the success I [3] Elisabeth E. Bennett., “Virtual HRD : The Intersection of Knowledge M anagement, Culture, and Intranets”, Sage deserve in life”, and behaviours such as “I complete tasks Publications, Advances in Developing Human Resources, successfully”. 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General Discussion and Conclusions This study seeks to identify how core self-evaluations affect knowledge sharing behaviour among academic lib rarians. In addition, we will investigate if core self-evaluations could reduce evaluation apprehension, thus enhancing knowledge sharing behaviour. Previous research suggested that the broad personality concept such as core self-evaluations may contribute to our understanding of knowledge sharing. It would be interesting to investigate if core self-evaluations influence knowledge sharing through influencing perception of the usefulness of knowledge sharing and reducing evaluation apprehension. We found in our review of the literature that researchers have investigated the direct relationship between personal characteristics and knowledge sharing. However, there is still limited study on evaluation apprehension as mediator in the relationship between core self-evaluation and knowledge sharing behavior. Thus, the study will contribute to the current body of knowledge and make a positive impact on the lib rarianship profession. Academic librarians face increasing challenges and pressures in the university environ ment. They have to be aware of and cast the vision of their future role as key players in to morro w’s academia. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We would like to express special thanks to the School of Graduate Studies, Universit i Teknologi Malaysia and the Faculty of Management and Hu man Resource Develop ment for their support in this study. [6] Irene Y.L. Chen, Nian- Shing Chen, Kinshuk, “Examining the Factors Influencing Participants’ Knowledge Sharing Behavior in Virtual Learning Communities”, International Forum of Educational Technology and Society, Educational Technology & Society, vol. 12, no. 1, pp.134-148, 2009. 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