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How can universities engage lecturers in knowledge transfer? analyzing the influence of performance management systems

Maria Beatriz Gonzalez-Sanchez (ECOBAS, Universidade de Vigo, Orense, Spain)
Cristina Gutiérrez-López (University of León, Leon, Spain)
Mercedes Barrachina Palanca (University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 19 July 2021

Issue publication date: 8 April 2022




There is an increasingly growing interest in treading beyond the traditional university goals of teaching and research to focus on their contribution to society through knowledge transfer (KT) performance activities. This paper aims to determine how performance management systems (PMSs) encourage lecturers to engage in the transfer of knowledge from higher education institutions (HEIs) to society.


This study is based on a sample of 3,812 Spanish university lecturers surveyed about different PMS tools – strategic plans, budgeting, meetings and reward systems – and different KT activities – research and development contracts, patents, extended patents, licenses, services and spin-offs – for the 2011–2016 period. A logit model was applied for the statistical analyzes.


As expected, enabling the use of these tools generally increases the probability of producing KT while only in some cases does coercive use reduce it. Moreover, combining enabling and coercive uses does not increase the likelihood of KT performance.

Practical implications

University policymakers and managers should reduce the gap between KT and research and teaching by, for example, examining the effects of their performance management practices on scholars’ perceptions and their subsequent behavior.


Despite previous literature states that coercive use decreases performance, the authors reveal that this is not the case for KT performance in HEIs. According to the findings, a specific record of KT, i.e. a coercive strategic plan tool, has a consistently positive effect on all four KT activities as follows: R&D contracts, patents, extended patents and licenses.



This research received no specific grant from any funding agency of the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.


Gonzalez-Sanchez, M.B., Gutiérrez-López, C. and Barrachina Palanca, M. (2022), "How can universities engage lecturers in knowledge transfer? analyzing the influence of performance management systems", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 1083-1110.



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