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Empowered or engaged employees? A fuzzy set analysis on knowledge transfer professionals

Valentina Cucino (Institute of Management, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy)
Nicola Del Sarto (Institute of Management, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy)
Alberto Di Minin (Institute of Management, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy)
Andrea Piccaluga (Institute of Management, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 11 November 2020

Issue publication date: 21 June 2021

513

Abstract

Purpose

This paper combines the literature on knowledge transfer and that on organizational behavior to analyze how perceived empowerment and perceived engagement affect knowledge transfer offices’ (KTOs’) performance, measured in terms of the number of license agreements.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors measured the cognitions which constitute perceived empowerment and perceived engagement through a survey sent to Italian KTOs’ professionals. The authors performed “fuzzy set qualitative analysis” to investigate if this cognition, together or in isolation, may influence KTOs’ management performance, measured by the number of license agreements.

Findings

The results highlight the role of individual cognitions in influencing KTOs’ performance. Furthermore, an important finding from the analysis of the main configurations is that the co-presence of perceived engagement and perceived empowerment leads to more license agreements only in the presence of specific individual cognitions. More precisely, the level of organizational citizenship behavior, the degree to which an individual influences results at work (degree of impact) and the value of a work goal (degree of meaning) are the cognitions which lead to a higher number of license agreements.

Originality/value

Despite the growing interest in the investigation of the determinants of KTOs’ performance, a relevant research gap still concerns the explanation of KTOs’ performance considering individual cognitions such as attitudes, norms, perceived behavioral control and intentions. This study looks at the combined effect of the individual cognition of perceived engagement and perceived empowerment on KTOs’ performances.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the Netval association and Italian technology transfer professionals for allowing this study. The authors extend their sincere thanks to Professors Gretchen Spreitzer and Emma Soane for providing very useful feedbacks to a previous version of the present study and Dr Giulio Ferrigno for providing interesting methodological suggestions.

Citation

Cucino, V., Del Sarto, N., Di Minin, A. and Piccaluga, A. (2021), "Empowered or engaged employees? A fuzzy set analysis on knowledge transfer professionals", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 1081-1104. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-05-2020-0388

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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