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Encouraging knowledge contribution in IT support: social context and the differential effects of motivation type

Xuequn Wang (Global Institute of Management and Economics, Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, Dalian, China)
Paul F. Clay (School of Business Administration, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO, USA)
Nicole Forsgren (Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 7 April 2015




This paper aims to investigate how to promote two types of knowledge contribution tasks. The authors focus on the role of supervisor and coworker support on motivation, and their effects on two different contribution tasks. Motivating employees to contribute knowledge is quite challenging. While previous studies have tried to understand how to promote knowledge contribution, few have differentiated between knowledge contribution tasks.


Information technology support was chosen as the context of this study, and data were collected from system administrators within a Fortune 500 company via a web-based survey.


Results show the differential effects of two forms of motivation on different contribution tasks, and supervisor support is positively associated with intrinsic motivation. Specifically, while intrinsic motivation is positively associated with challenging knowledge contribution, external motivation is positively related to mundane knowledge contribution and negatively related to challenging knowledge contribution.


This study contributes to the current literature by providing a deeper theoretical understanding of knowledge contribution tasks, and contributes to practice by offering suggestions on how to better motivate employees within organizations and promote different knowledge contribution tasks.



Wang, X., Clay, P.F. and Forsgren, N. (2015), "Encouraging knowledge contribution in IT support: social context and the differential effects of motivation type", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 315-333.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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