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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2020

Muhammad Shujahat, Minhong Wang, Murad Ali, Anum Bibi, Shahid Razzaq and Susanne Durst

The high turnover rate of knowledge workers presents a challenge to both organizational and personal knowledge management. Although personal knowledge management plays an…

Abstract

Purpose

The high turnover rate of knowledge workers presents a challenge to both organizational and personal knowledge management. Although personal knowledge management plays an important role in organizational knowledge management, empirical research on the practices for its application is underdeveloped. This study aims to examine the role of idiosyncratic job-design practices (i.e. job definition, job autonomy, innovation as a job requirement and lifelong learning orientation) in cultivating personal knowledge management among knowledge workers in organizations, to increase their productivity and safeguard the organization against knowledge loss arising from knowledge workers’ interfirm mobility.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 221 knowledge workers pursuing various knowledge-intensive jobs through a questionnaire survey and were analysed using partial least squares modelling.

Findings

The results demonstrated that three job-design practices (job definition, innovation as a job requirement and lifelong learning orientation) have a positive impact on personal knowledge management among knowledge workers and thus improve their productivity. However, job autonomy can affect personal knowledge management negatively.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are confined to a specific context and should be replicated across different contexts for better generalizability in future research.

Practical implications

Organizational managers should pay attention to (re)designing knowledge-intensive jobs to cultivate personal knowledge management by clearly outlining job responsibilities, offering opportunities to add relevant job activities and drop irrelevant ones, and making innovation and lifelong learning a formal job requirement. In addition, job autonomy should be judiciously provided along with sufficient social and network support to avoid lost opportunities in knowledge creation and sharing, and should be linked to job responsibilities and performance appraisals to avoid negative effects.

Originality/value

The high turnover rate of knowledge workers presents a challenge to both organizational and personal knowledge management. This study contributes to the literature by addressing the research gap in two aspects. Firstly, based on Drucker’s theory, this study identifies four idiosyncratic job-design practices (job definition, job autonomy, innovation as a job requirement and lifelong learning orientation) that reflect the distinctive characteristics of knowledge-intensive work. Secondly, this study examines whether and how these practices can cultivate personal knowledge management among knowledge workers, which can support their productivity.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

Keywords

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