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Reaping benefits from knowledge transfer – the role of confidence in knowledge

Smitha R. Nair (International Business and Strategy, Rajagiri College of Social Sciences, Cochin, India)
Kishore Gopalakrishna Pillai (Amrita School of Business, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Ettimadai Campus, Coimbatore, India)
Mehmet Demirbag (Essex Business School, Colchester Campus, University of Essex, Colchester, UK)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 4 November 2020

Issue publication date: 21 June 2021




This paper aims to develop a conceptual model that examines the role of an individual’s confidence in the transferred knowledge in realizing benefits from such transfers. In so doing, the paper attempts to address the gap in the knowledge transfer (KT) literature pertaining to the inability of recipients to gain benefits from incoming transferred knowledge.


The conceptual model has been developed by drawing from the literature on socio-cognitive approaches by using psychological variables (individual-level differences in need for closure, regulatory focus and self-efficacy) and contextual factors that include the perceived novelty of knowledge and positive feedback from social interactions, which influence confidence in incoming knowledge.


The conceptual model builds on the socio-cognitive perspective and explores some of the important issues that could contribute to the individual’s adeptness (or lack thereof) in deriving benefits from transferred knowledge, thus addressing a vital gap in strategy and management literature.


The paper introduces the concept of confidence in knowledge to the KT literature, which could lend valuable insights pertaining to deriving benefits from transferred knowledge. In addition, by highlighting the role of important individual-specific constructs in determining the ability to gain benefits from KT, the paper makes a significant contribution to the stream of research on the micro-foundational bases of strategy. Finally, exploring perceived novelty as a knowledge attribute in this paper adds an interesting perspective to the individuals’ perception of the target knowledge quality and the resulting confidence in the incoming knowledge, which could in turn be moderated by individual differences.



Nair, S.R., Pillai, K.G. and Demirbag, M. (2021), "Reaping benefits from knowledge transfer – the role of confidence in knowledge", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 1059-1080.



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