Individual connectedness in innovation networks: On the role of individual motivation by Rick Aalbers, Wilfred Dolfsma, Otto Koppius addresses the issue of knowledge transfer in organizations. The authors state that variables such as motivation and centrality influence knowledge transfer. Many studies have been conducted in this area but most of them have failed to emphasize the relationship between the two variables. The knowledge gap in the study is the impact of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation that influences employee’s sharing of knowledge in an organization. It is necessary to determine the interrelationship between an organization’s network and psychological variables. Most of the previous studies on this topic failed to establish the stated relationship.
Numerous firms across the globe have discovered the relevance of innovation due to the increased competition in the market. For innovation to work within an organization, strategies should be put in place to streamline the process of knowledge transfer. However, there is the probability of knowledge being available but not applicable in other areas within the organization. According to Grant (1996, 110), the purpose of knowledge transfer in an organization is mainly to increase competitiveness in the market. Many organizations currently apply the techniques of knowledge transfer to gain competitive advantage over their counterparts. Scholars have come out to publicly state the relevance of knowledge transfer in organizations. It is therefore intuitive to assert that knowledge transfer among workers in a certain organization indeed augments innovation and creativity within the organization. Research findings dictate that intrinsic motivation enhances creativity more than extrinsic motivation such as rewards and promises. Similarly, innovation and creativity of the employees is likely to enhance the growth of an organization. Most of the statements in the current theory embrace the fact that the theories of motivation encourage knowledge transfer between employees and thus enhancing innovation in the organization.
The current theory on knowledge transfer within an organization and empirical findings has some shortcomings. First, the employees need to interact with each other to enhance the process of knowledge transfer. It is advisable that they stay close to each other to improve the creativity and innovation between them. However, the shortcoming of regular meetings is that the process is costly. This is due to the fact that, establishment and maintenance of ties is a costly process. Additionally, sponsoring these interactions seems uneconomical especially when the organization is already sponsoring other ties. According to Jackson and Wolinsky (1996, 54), the value of maintaining networks within an organization lowers while the cost increases at a constant rate. Another shortcoming of the theory is that the relationship may not work as expected by the organization. For instance, employees may interact but the results may deviate from the expectations of the organization. Uncertainties are evident in these scenarios especially with the involvement of extrinsic motivation. Different individuals get attracted to different motivations and hence inter-unit knowledge transfer is likely to be less effective.
The research hypothesis states that, interpersonal relationships enhance knowledge transfer and thus facilitating creativity and innovation in an organization. Additionally, the creativity is likely to augment the growth of an organization especially when both extrinsic and intrinsic motivations are present. There is no any other way of phrasing the hypothesis of the study. The hypothesis is perfect and should only be confirmed or refuted by the findings. Phrasing the hypothesis different would imply different study samples, different methodology designs, and different data collection paradigms, which is not appropriate.
This paper clearly indicates that the sample used in the study was purposive. The sampling was done judgmentally and from prior information and knowledge on the objective of the study. The sample population was from two different companies in different industries. The researchers had no initial information about the virtues of the sample population, which prompted the use of random sampling. The two companies that provided the study samples are Alpha Company and Beta Company. Alpha company is an electronics company while Beta Company is a financial service provider. The researchers confirmed that the participants were privy to the innovative knowledge transfer within an organization. The 122 employees from the companies were meant to provide appropriate information. However, there were shortcomings in the sample. The researchers did not consider revisiting the experiences of these employees prior to the research. Additionally, the size of the study sample was not appropriate to establish the desired outcome. The researchers were supposed to include numerous employees from different companies in the study. This is because different companies have different policies and hence it would be necessary to consider companies with different organizational structures.
Latent constructs are always present whenever a researcher is conducting a study. Latent constructs arise from the nature of the sample and the methods of data collection that researchers apply in their studies. In this study, the researchers used survey techniques including interviews to reconstruct the organizational setting and to establish the identity of the most appropriate response group. The sample population was subjected to survey protocols that included interviews and observations. The credibility of the study arises from the ability of the researchers to collect primary data from the respondents through the interview paradigms. In is intuitive to state that interviews are reliable, efficient, and more exhaustive as compared to the other methodologies of data collection. Through the interviews, the researchers were able to retrieve primary information on personal experiences of the participants.
The use of control variables is relevant in all qualitative and quantitative studies. The authors of the article included four control variables in their study. The control variables used in this study were appropriate because they helped the researchers to confirm the relevance of certain observations. For instance, they included tenure to check the effect of time on the results. On the other hand, unit membership and gender variables were used to determine the effects of group affiliations on the outcome of the study. Additionally, the inclusion of number of ties per employee was meant to act as a control for the impact of the size of a group. I suggest the inclusion of the success rate of knowledge transfer from some of the organizations that had applied the technique earlier. However, the four control samples are an added advantage in ensuring credibility of the findings.
The results comprise an analysis of standard deviations, zero-order correlations, and the means of the variables from each company. The statistics in the results are meant to indicate the effect of closeness in an organization on knowledge transfer, for instance, the mean and correlation clearly mean that the researchers intended to establish the significance of the hypothesis in the results. In terms of hypothesis testing, the researchers provide regression statistics. The function of regression statistics is to establish the effectiveness of connectedness and the number of ties between employees on the rate of knowledge transfer. In addition to the mean and standard deviations, the authors also provided correlation and regression results. An observation of the correlation and regression tables does not detect anything unusual.
The results partially conform to the provisions of the current theory. According to the researchers, connectedness and inter-unit ties enhance innovation of individuals in an organization (Aalbers, Dolfsma & Koppius, 2013, 631). The researchers discovered that extrinsic and intrinsic motivations play a significant role in knowledge transfer from one individual to another. However, they discovered that motivation for knowledge transfer and the motivation that places someone in a better place in knowledge transfer are not similar. The researchers passing an important message to managers that they should allow both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation of the employees for enhancing knowledge transfer. In the process, then company is likely to get a boost from their innovation and creativity and hence facilitating its growth and performance.
If I were the researcher of this study, I would do exactly what these researchers did. However, I will also investigate the cost of communication and how it affects knowledge transfer in an organization. This variable would important because of its ability to determine the commitment of an organization in sponsoring knowledge transfer ties. The audience needs to understand how sponsoring communications by an organization can enhance networking among employees. It would be intuitive to assume that effective communication is an important tenet of enhancing networking and thus forming part of the intrinsic motivation of an individual. This would be additional information to this study.
Aalbers, R., Dolfsma, W., & Koppius, O. 2013. Individual connectedness in innovation
networks: On the role of individual motivation. Research Policy, 42: 624– 634.
Grant, R. M., 1996. Toward a knowledge-based theory of the firm. Strategic Management
Jackson, M., Wolinsky, A., 1996. A strategic model of social and economic networks.