Knowledge Age

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Knowledge age

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Overview

The global has entered the Knowledge Age since knowledge gradually becomes an important key to allow people survive in this third global. The concept of knowledge has been important growth in academic as well as the society due to the reason that knowledge is considered as a strongest tool to create solution and also solve the problems (Debowski, 2006).

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At the same time, knowledge play an essential part in the innovative economy as technology becomes increasingly complicated and the growth of economic is determined by knowledge intensive industries. (Jamaludin, 2006) Hence, Malaysia has transformed Production-based economy to Knowledge-based economy (K Economy) in few years ago. This transformation into a K-Economy is driven by knowledge and innovation, which provide the platform to carry on a rapid rate of economic growth and it also improve international competitive so as to achieve the objectives of vision 2020.

There is an age old saying that knowledge is power, but in today’s increasingly competitive society, security is needed than that. Organizations have recognized that knowledge contain a valuable factor for creating and sustaining competitive advantages. Knowledge sharing generally is supported by knowledge management system. However, most of the organization becoming increasingly more complex in structure, and resulting the knowledge become fragmented, hard to locate, power, share and difficult to reuse. Thus, knowledge management becomes a trendy thought to improve an organization’s performance (Zack 1999).

The beginning of insurance in Malaysia is traced to the period between 18th and 19th centuries when the British trading forms established in Malaysia performed as agents of the insurance companies. After independence in 1957, the minority of life insurance companies are gradually growing. In previous years, most of the consumers are ignoring and misunderstanding to the concept of insurance, but this situation is no longer. People have changed their mind and become optimistic to face their threats. Based on the study by Affiaine and Zalina (2008), the change in consumer’s attitude towards insurance sector is because the Malaysian consumers are more educated and knowledgeable in recent years. Besides, consumers become more aware the incident happens.

In another hand, the insurance industry provides protection against financial losses resulting from a variety of threats. By purchasing insurance policies, individuals and businesses may receive compensation for losses due to the accidentally cases such as medical expenses, theft of property, fire and storm damage, car accidents, and loss of income due to disability or death (Singal, 2009).

1.2 Problem Statement

Knowledge is much more complex and complicated to produce than information and experience. According to business dictionary, information is the collection of data that has been verified as accurate and valuable to an individual. Meanwhile, an accumulation of the knowledge through year and year is what we called experience. (Sharifuddin & Rowland, 2004) Davenport and Prusak argue that experience “provides a historical perspective from which to view and understand new situations and events” (Davenport &Prusak, 2000, p. 7) Whereas, knowledge is the process of translating information and past experience into a meaningful and significant set of relationship which are appreciate and applied by a person. (Debowski,2006)

From this study, it can actually improve the understanding and practice of how the employers manage the knowledge sharing within organization especially in Malaysia life Insurance. Other than that, it also recognized that the process of knowledge management surrounded by a group. In particularly, this study identified the important factors to successful knowledge sharing, and discussed the implication of the factors for developing organizational strategies that encourage knowledge sharing.

As knowledge become more voluminous and capacious, Hogel (2003) defines knowledge sharing as a social interaction culture which engaged the exchange of knowledge, experience, and information via an organization. Moreover, knowledge sharing provides a set of shared understanding to the employees to access the relevant information and creating knowledge by using a network within organizations. In the additional, knowledge sharing is enhanced gradually is because it provides many opportunities to enable organization to meet those requirements and it produces solutions that create a business efficiently with a competitive advantage (Reid, 2003) Hence, knowledge is essential to an organization due to the reason that it enables them to enlarge their innovation performance and create a great way to make a business.

People don’t grant knowledge for free, so knowledge sharing can be actually considered as a business process (Barachini, 2007). Although knowledge management has been widely used by many countries nowadays but Malaysia is only begin to practice this particular system among this years. In the new generation, the concern of the Government of Malaysia in developing the nation through knowledge economy has become very visible. Besides, Government is encouraging the public organization and also the private organization to build up a more knowledgeable and intellectual organization particularly in term of managing resources and providing services to the consumers. However, the reasons why Government is focusing and concerning to the knowledge management system is the Government’s commitment in transforming to K based economy, which is introduces at the end of the year 2002 (Sharifuddin & Rowland, 2004). Moreover, K-based Economy Master Plan (KEMP) is helps Malaysia to achieve Malaysia’s national vision, namely Vision 2020, was introduced in 1990 with the goal of attaining a developed nation by the year 2020.

Nevertheless, according to the Knowledge Board, the author named Naguib Chowdhury (2006) claimed that knowledge management is slow adoption in Malaysia. That is only few of the Malaysian companies have set off any knowledge management program. Most of the employees are aware of the suitability of their contributions, and the superiors will be cautious to ensure that their suggestions do not disclose their lack of knowledge of the subject matter. With this problem, knowledge management can be easily failed. As a result, this issue can be overcome by analyzing an organization culture and focus on openness and sharing of knowledge without any fear of being panelized.

As Darroch & McNaughton (2002) said, the knowledge sharing in organization is changing traditional ideas like managing intellectual resources and the staff working style by giving new processes, regulations and cultures, therefore forming an organizational innovation. Normally, a firm can be only success by managing knowledge resource effectively when its employees are willing to cooperate with colleagues to contribute knowledge within a group or network to generate more inspirations or ideas and develop a new business opportunity, therefore facilitating innovation activities.

To accelerate the materialization of the K-economy foreseen in Malaysia’s vision 2020, local commercial banks in Malaysia are practicing the adoption of knowledge management. It could train them to be more competitive and ready to face the challenges due to the liberalization of financial (Hafizi and Zawiyah, 2004). Currently, there are many merging of banks institution because they would like to obtain more benefits from a bigger economic scale and the potential for synergy to compete effectively and efficiently. Hence, knowledge management able to resolve this kind of complex problems, and provides quick responses and facilitates a good decision-making (Hafizi & Zawiyah, 2004). As we seen, knowledge management is essential to enable knowledge and information to be sent, received, understood and used (Halim, 1999)

According to Hafizi & Zawiyah (2004), there are several critical issues in knowledge management practice in Malaysia. For instance, the policy and focus of the knowledge management program should meet the requirements and objectives of the organization. Therefore, the organization’s condition for a KM program has to be recognized and set up a framework to enable the knowledge to be collected, shared and used. Other than that, bank needs a program that includes a strategic plan to establish an organizational structure to improve bank’s performance in acquiring, transferring, and sharing knowledge. This is very imperative since the main challenge of KM program lies in identifying effort’s size required and the potential effects in organization. Of course, a well-planned framework is also essential to allocate responsibility, observe the movement, and make changes to ensure the success of KM program.

Another critical area is the application of information technology. IT is one of the major sources to apply a KM system and also becomes the main motivating force for KM. Since Sveiby (1994) argues that knowledge as an object can be translated clearly through words. When abstract knowledge is changed to a concrete form through speech or symbols, knowledge can be disseminated, criticized and analyzed. Hence, technology is needed to collect, store, analyze and distribute information to increase the ability of knowledge sharing. So, such technology infrastructure can ensure better relations within an organization and with the global (Hafizi & Zawiyah, 2004). As we know, bank institutions need to prepare and build up more and more complex system in order to practice KM program.

Furthermore, we found that there is only little literature and information on knowledge found in the public sector compared to the private sector, although knowledge management has been widely discussed by many academicians and practitioners. Debowski (2006) said that public enterprises are sponsored by the government which includes health, education, transport and other areas. They mostly function as service agencies, providing information, guidance and ongoing support to the community. In another way, private enterprises are companies looking for make a profit for their shareholders while ensuring long-term sustainability in their commercial market.

Normally, the achievement of implementing a KM program can easily be acknowledged and identified in private sector organizations; hence most of the practical application studies focus on there. However, studies on knowledge management are rarely found in public organization in Malaysia because knowledge management is implemented in organization which is public sector are more for providing services to the public rather than towards earning financial profit (Shariffuddin & Rowland, 2004)

Liebowitz & Chen (2003, p.422) stated that knowledge sharing in government is challenges and difficulties. For instance, it is developing a motivation and reward system for encouraging knowledge sharing since it can only grant limited financial rewards. Besides, public sector agencies are not involved in a simple service transaction between both parties; they are not profit making concerns although it is recently trendy to describe public sector agencies as business operations. Based on a Loughborough University study (2006), it claims that organizational knowledge is seen to be more important in the public sector than private sector. This is primarily because the employee has long been identified as the main key knowledge repository in the public sector.

1.3 Objectives

From this study, a theoretical framework will be applied in which extrinsic and intrinsic motivations are integrated with the knowledge sharing process in Malaysian Life Insurance agents. In order to understand deeply why the particular topic has been chose, this research project has carried out 5 objectives as below:

  • To determine the extrinsic motivational factors that influence knowledge sharing among Malaysian Life Insurance agents.
  • To analyze the intrinsic motivational factors that affect knowledge sharing among Malaysian Life Insurance agents.
  • To examine the relationship between motivational factors with knowledge management program.
  • To understand the relationship between motivational factors and organization performance.
  • To identify the correlation between knowledge sharing and organization performance

1.4 Significance of the study

Normally, knowledge sharing is using often in Malaysian life insurance companies. Agents are encouraged and needed to contribute knowledge within groups and organizations in order to generate new ideas and also solutions, so that they can exploit the information as a reference to develop their new business opportunities. This research is useful for them with the purpose of improve their understanding in knowledge sharing and recognizing the value of knowledge to assist them to accomplish a high level of production.

For the information, this study also brings the advantages and benefits to the public as well as the consumer. This is due to the reason that consumer can obtain more valuable insurance knowledge from the agents and they have a chance to understand what actually the profits of the products they purchase before. Besides, agents have the ability to overcome the problems that consumer faced if knowledge sharing is practiced within organization.

As Reid (2003) said, knowledge sharing builds opportunities to maximize organization ability to meet those needs and produces solutions and efficiencies that develop an innovative business with a competitive advantage. Therefore, this study helps the employees willing to cooperate with other colleagues to collect and share the knowledge then finally contribute to the firm. For that reason, the organization can only start to handle knowledge resources effectively and enhance innovation performance.

As we know, Malaysia is getting to transform economy from production-based economy into knowledge-based economy (K-economy). Economic Planning Unit (EPU) defined K-economy as the basis to sustain a rapid rate of economic and develop international competitive to achieve Vision 2020. With the transformation into K-economy, the country able to achieve sustainable GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth rates in the long run with knowledge playing an important role in driving productivity economic growth (Ramlee Mustapha & Abu Abdullah, 2004). With this study, government knows knowledge sharing plays an essential role in an industry to enlarge the achievement and performance. Meanwhile, there is a rapid growth in GDP in order to shift the economy to K-economy which is a part of a wider plan to attain the objective of the nation’s Vision 2020.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.1 Definition of Terms

For this chapter, the relevant literature for this study is reviewed. It consists of (1) definition of terms, (2) knowledge sharing process, (3) the motivational factors, and (4) the consequence of knowledge sharing among insurance agents.

2.1.1 Knowledge

In this information age, the concept of knowledge in an organization has become increasingly well-known in the literature, with knowledge being acknowledged as the most essential resource of organizations (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998). Defining knowledge accurately is difficult. Nevertheless, knowledge is a combination of ideas, rules, procedures, and information. So, knowledge is lifeless and motionless without meaning (Bhatt, 2000).

Knowledge is a valued intangible asset which means that knowledge will keep on growing whenever a person shares the knowledge that he/she has, they do not even lose it when someone transfers their knowledge (Omar & Rowland, 2004). Hence, knowledge is become more and more significant in this knowledgeable globalization. Knowledge is a tool that able to control the world even a person’s future. Debowski (2006) defined knowledge is collected as the various information sources are tested and combined with learning and past experience. Thus, knowledge is imaginative, unique, and adaptable.

Widen-Wulff & Ginman (2004) claims that technical challenge to design human and information system to organize information, but also to think together. Information technology cannot bring the vision itself into action although it motivates the vision of effective information and knowledge management. Knowledge as a key resource in attaining different kinds of objectives and purposes is well established in the management. Knowledge belongs to the family of steadily increasing organization assets, such as management system, customer information, and organization goodwill (Pascarella, 1997). Knowledge is a human, highly personal asset and represents the pooled expertise and efforts of network and alliances (Smith, 2001).

People always transfer their accumulated knowledge like experience, their thoughts, and their story to the new generation by educating them. In the past, people use face-to-face to express their “know-how” (tacit knowledge) to others (Hansen, 1999). In other hand, forms of written language has been used to document their “know-what” (explicit knowledge) during recorded history. In terms of one’s work related knowledge, this leads to two levels of capability which can be accessed in work settings: explicit and tacit knowledge.

Debowski (2006) stated that explicit knowledge is knowledge that can be shared with others, which can be documentation, classification, and transmitted and finally showed to others through the ways of justification and explanation. Explicit knowledge therefore has a natural benefit compared to tacit knowledge in terms of its ability to be shared easily among individuals (Ipe, 2003). However, there are two major forms of explicit knowledge, which is declarative and procedural knowledge. Declarative knowledge is the sets of principal and truth that can be explained to others, and procedural knowledge allows the application of processes (Debowski 2006).

Yet, Debowski (2006) mentioned that knowledge which is accumulated by experience and learning of a person and difficult to reproduce or share with other people is what we called tacit knowledge (implicit knowledge). In short, tacit knowledge is generated more through informal discussion rather than formal discussion, interviews, appraisals and inductions (Sharifuddin & Rowland, 2004). It is therefore not easily codifiable and cannot communicate or used without individual who is knower (Lpe, 2003). Tacit knowledge can be classified into two elements, which is technical and cognitive (Pathirage, 2007). Technical includes information and capability in relation to “know-how” as cognitive involves in mental models, faiths and values.

In additionally, knowledge is developed by four categories, which is knowledge distribution, knowledge adoption, knowledge review and revision, and knowledge creation (Bhatt, 2000).

2.1.2 Insurance

Insurance is defined as a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent loss. Besides, insurance is the equitable transmit of the risk of a loss from a person to another in exchange for a premium, and it can be thought of small loss to prevent large losses (Wikipedia, 2008).

Based on the Insurance info (2007), insurance helps to transfer of risk by an individual, no matter an organization, a business, or yourself. The insurance company receives payment in the form of premium and it will compensate you in case of any damages or losses sustained by you. Moreover, appuonline (2009) defined that insurance is an agreement between two parties whereby one party have to pay a fixed sum of money to undertake the risk of uncertain event or after the expiry of a certain period in case of life insurance or to indemnify the other party on happening of an uncertain event in case of general insurance.

There are two types of insurance, which is life insurance and general insurance. Life insurance is also named life assurance which is a contract between the insurer and policy owner, where the insurer should pay a sum of money upon the event of the insured individual’s or death of individual or others, like illness (Wikipedia, 2008). In another words, it is a contract between policy owner and insurer whereby a monetary benefit is paid to the selected beneficiaries if any insured event happens which is covered by the policy. However, life-based contracts are classified into 2 major categories: Protection policy and Investment policy (Wikipedia, 2008). Protection policy is normally paid in a lump sum to offer a benefit in the event of specified event, such as term insurance, whole life insurance, endowment and so on, whereas Investment policy is designed to assist the capital’s growth of capital by single or regular premiums, for example investment-linked, life annuity plan, and others.

In another way, general insurance has different name in different country. It is named property and casualty insurance in U.S., and Non-Life insurance in Continental Europe. Nevertheless, there is the same thing which provides payments depending on the loss from a particular financial event; it is including automobile and homeowners policies (Wikipedia, 2008). Basically, general insurance comprises any insurance that is not involved in life insurance. Other than that, the party bearing the risk is called “insurer” or “assurer”, and the party whose risk is covered is called “insured” or “assured” (appuonline, 2009).

2.1.3 Knowledge Sharing

Sharing defined as a voluntary act by an individual who participates in the knowledge exchange even though there is not compulsory to do so (Davenport, 1997). Beside that, Ipe (2003) explained the term of “sharing” as the sender does not relinquish ownership of the knowledge in a knowledge sharing process. Instead, it results in joint ownership of the knowledge between sender and receiver. Knowledge sharing is basically the act of creating knowledge available within the individual or organization. Wulff & Ginman (2004) are also stated that knowledge sharing is a multi-dimensional activity and involves several contextual, cognitive, and communication skills.

Basically, the concept of knowledge sharing is divided into two extremes: formal knowledge sharing and informal knowledge sharing (De lange, Smit, & Taminiau, 2007). Formal knowledge sharing includes the forms of knowledge sharing that are institutionalized by management. In other words, the activities or resources are organized by the organization with the purpose of knowledge sharing from each other. In contrast, informal knowledge sharing refers the resources or activities that are not designed for the purpose. Employees may exchange knowledge outside the organization such as informal conversation.

Normally, knowledge sharing can be used in two levels; there is individual and organization level. For individual employees, knowledge sharing is exchange the knowledge to help each other get something done better quickly and efficiently (Hsiu Fen, 2007). In another words, knowledge sharing between individual is the process that the knowledge created by individual converted into a set of relationship that can be understood, absorbed, and used by others (Ipe, 2003). For an organization, knowledge sharing is capturing, managing, reusing, and transferring experience-based knowledge that resides within the organization, and also making that knowledge available to the whole department or organization (Hsiu Fen, 2007).

According to Hall & Goody (2007), successful knowledge sharing is most readily associated with three outcomes:

  • Improved organizational learning
  • New knowledge creation and innovation
  • Knowledge reused

Knowledge sharing is important because it provide a link between individual and the organization by transmitting the knowledge from individual to the organization, where it is converted into competitive value for the organization (Hendrinks, 1999). In additional, knowledge sharing is essential due to the reason that it enables organizations to enlarge innovation performance and reduce redundant learning efforts (Hsiu-Fen, 2007). To constituting an organizational innovation, the organizational promotion of knowledge sharing is changing traditional thoughts about organizing intellectual resources and employee work style by providing new processes, cultures, and disciplines (Darroch & McNaughton, 2002).

Knowledge sharing is classified as the process where individual exchange their knowledge either tacit or explicit and then mutually create new knowledge (De Vries, Van den Hooff & De Ridder, 2006). It means that every knowledge sharing behavior contains bringing and collecting. In an organization, employer believed that core competencies can be developed in every worker (Bishop, 2002). However, Fushs (2002) argues that core competencies are attributes that are nurtured within firm, and it is difficult to reproduce externally. Therefore, the one of the core competencies is knowledge sharing. Workers need to share actively, discuss their performance, and observe leaders modeling and ultimately share their knowledge (Debowski, 2006).

Nonetheless, knowledge sharing creates collaborative advantage (laycock, 2006). Laycock also said knowledge sharing is extremely dependent on successful ongoing organization since most of the organizations are focusing in knowledge in the 21st century.

2.1.4 Knowledge Sharing Process

Knowledge sharing can be the process of demanding and doubtful (Mooradian, Renzl & Matzler, 2009). Knowledge sharing process is how an organization’s stuffs share their work related experience, know-how, expertise, information with others. The process must consist of both employees’ willingness to actively communication with other workers (Hsiu Fen, 2007). For example, an individual is willing to contribute knowledge, and another one is willing to collect knowledge.

The two dimensions of knowledge sharing process consists of knowledge donating and knowledge collecting, which knowledge donating can be identified as the process of individuals offering their personal intellectual capital to others. Meanwhile, knowledge collecting is the process of encouraging their colleagues to contribute their knowledge also (Van den Hooff & Van Weenen, 2004).

The dimensions of knowledge sharing

Managing the organizational resource of knowledge in effectively way is one of the most important challenges for organizations. It is essential that individuals and departments are involved in the process of knowledge sharing (De Vries, van den Hooff & De Ridder, 2006). It is because knowledge sharing has been found that is important to organization in terms of productivity (Moreland & Myaskovsky, 2000). Therefore this research presents a knowledge sharing model with three categories, which is nature of knowledge, motivation to share, and the opportunity to share. The model is embedded within the culture of the working area.

Knowledge is nature exists in tacit and explicit forms. These characteristics of the nature of knowledge, tacitness and explicitness of knowledge have a significant influence on the way knowledge shared by organization. Sanchez (2001) is defined tacit knowledge as:

  • Knowledge is personal in nature and difficult to extract from people.
  • Knowledge is transferred by moving people within or between organizations.

In contrast, Sanchez (2001) also stated that there are several meanings of explicit knowledge as below:

  • Knowledge can be explained and codified easily.
  • Knowledge can be disseminated in the form of documents, graphing, etc.

Nevertheless, there is formal and informal ways in the opportunity of knowledge sharing (Ipe, 2003). Formal opportunities are also called purposive learning channels, which include structured work teams, training programs, and technology-based system. Conversely, informal opportunities are named as relational learning channels, which include personal relationships and social networks (Rulke & Zaheer, 2002).

Motivation to share is one of the categories of knowledge sharing model. People’s willingness to share knowledge is depends to the motivation. Motivational factors concern their keenness and eagerness to share (De Vries, Van den Hooff & De Ridder, 2006). According to Stenmark (2001), people are unlikely to contribute knowledge without strong personal motivation. For the motivational factors, there are two kinds of factors which include intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors are the knowledge self-efficacy and enjoyment in helping others, it examined the perceived satisfaction derived from a specific activity while extrinsic factors focus on the goal-driven reasons, like any expected benefits and recipient earned when performing an activity (Ipe, 2003; Lin, 2007).

However, there is no significant body of research evaluates the cause of the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors on employee knowledge sharing behavior although many studies show that motivation factors are crucial determinants of knowledge sharing behaviors (Ipe, 2003).

2.1.5 Knowledge Management

Knowledge is a key of intangible asset (laycock, 2006). Knowledge management is managing organizational knowledge as a corporate asset and exploiting knowledge creation and sharing as key organization facility (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995). Knowledge is now being seen as the most essential and crucial strategic resource in an organization, more and more organizations tend to set up knowledge management systems and practices in order to more effectively and widely use the knowledge they have, hence management of knowledge is considered important to an organization success (Ipe, 2003). Since knowledge becomes part of an organization’s knowledge network, the conversion of tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge is important in the knowledge management domain (Herschel, Nemati & Steiger, 2001).

Nowadays, there is increasingly recognition of the role of individuals in knowledge management processes and also a rapidly growing interest in people perspective of knowledge in organization even though the knowledge management area has traditionally been dominated by information technology (Stenmark, 2001). The main point to successfully managing knowledge is the correlation between individuals in organization (Ipe, 2003). Moreover, knowledge management has also been supported by employees with greater skills to bring to their work roles. Organizations keen to embrace better and more efficient ways of managing their intellectual assets, the expertise of staff consequently can be shared with others, and also recorded for future use (Debowski, 2006).

Further, it brings numerous pros if knowledge management strategy is applied in an organization. The knowledge management that practiced within organization enables employees to understand their roles with other colleagues, and keep them aware of the kind of knowledge that need to be managed and shared by them. A corporation will beneficial as having well defined knowledge management strategy due to the reason that it allows the organization to access and store the information in the system and also people brain (Sharifuddin & Rowland, 2004).

To make the knowledge management become well-organized, knowledge management system (KMS) has been widely used in recent years. In short, KMS provides the technological basis for efficient knowledge management. Other than that, KMS also provide every individual easy to acquire, document, transfer, create and apply knowledge to achieve the organization’s knowledge priorities (Debowski, 2006). Most importantly, the KMS allows close connectivity among the employees from different departments.

Unfortunately, some of the companies are fail to practice a successful knowledge management. As Laycock (2006) mentioned that this is because the organizations are simply to view their culture, structure, and overall. In another words, they undervalue the scale and size of the economic due to the rapid changes in challenges (Drucker, 1999). Therefore, leadership becomes the important element to achieve knowledge management program.

2.1.6 Motivation

Motivation is known as a thought that will affect to the individual’s action and normally is designed to benefits either themselves or other people (Osterloh & Frey, 2000). Motivation generally is designed to a good and positive way, for example self-enhancement, self-enrichment, self-improvement (Lenstead & Brewis, 2007).

In general, motivation is divided into four levels, which is individual-level motives, interpersonal level motives, relational level motives, and group-level motives (Snyder & Cantor, 1998). In short, individual level is involved only a single person, interpersonal level involves a group with individuals, relation level primarily focus on ongoing organization, whereas group level motive is concentrate on a large group with collective entities to which one belongs, such as a person’s country.

Typically, there are two kinds of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. A person’s intrinsic motivation is primarily an incentive that based on their own good, and out of the external reasons. Employees gain the enjoyment and satisfaction through knowledge sharing because they are providing the knowledge that is useful to the organization and also improve the performance as every employee is exchange the valuable information (Constant, Kiesler & Sproull, 1996). Besides, Bartol and Srivastava, (2002) suggested that intrinsic motivation is employees are being motivated to perform a task due to the inherent enjoyment derived from doing that task and it is based in their feeling of self-determination. In short, it involved in self-efficacy and enjoyment in helping others (Lin, 2007).

Extrinsic motivation includes the expected benefits or potential gains offered by the organization to motivate employees to share knowledge. Lin (2007) suggested that this kind of motivation can be known as cost-benefit analysis. Employees engage in knowledge sharing process because they perceived more benefits compared to the costs, and the costs represent their effort (time taken, mental effort, etc.) when sharing knowledge. Hence, the advantages provided by organization such as rewards, reciprocal benefits and any other pros are the extrinsic motivation to determine the behaviors of knowledge sharing.

Likewise, motivation considers as a very significant concept in organization since it will improve employees’ performance, increase their confidence and expectation, and improve the standard living (Lenstead & Brewis, 2007). Beside, motivation becomes the most important barriers to successful knowledge transferred by employees (Burgess, 2005; Dyer & Nobeoka, 2000).

2.2 Motivational Factors

2.2.1 Intrinsic Motivational Factors Trust

Trust is the degree to which a person believes to another’s words, judgments, and attitudes (McAllister, 1995). It means to that a high level of confidence in another person’s capacity represents a higher trust. Nonetheless, the level of trust is strongly affected by past experience with an individual, and the person’s behavior, reputation, and role in the society (Debowski, 2006).

Actually, the term of trust has numerous of definitions in different perspectives and outlook (Sahay, 2003). Basically, trust is defined as the estimation of trustworthiness to a person (Levin & Cross, 2004). According to Tschannen-Moran and Hoy (2001), there are two kinds of trusts which are personal knowledge-based trust and institution-based trust. Personal knowledge-based trust is a social interaction between two parties, which is trustor and trustee. On another way, institution-based trust is a belief that organization should ensure all the employees’ trustworthy behavior, and avoid the negative consequences of administrative mistakes to the employees.

In additional, trust is known as the expectation that the people or things are supporting us even if there is perceived any other chances and motivation for it (Janowicz-Panjaitan & Noorderhaven, 2009). Generally, trust is classified into three dimensions. It includes reliability, openness, and concern. Reliability is based on the competencies of other parties, while openness means the level of willingness that people are going to share, and concern can be identified as cooperation and kindness (Willem, Buelens & Scarbrough, 2006).

Trust encourages superior corporate collaboration and interaction, while also develops the motivation of individual as well as group commitment (Politis, 2003). On the other hand, it will reduce organization performance and group commitment without trust. According to Sveiby and Simons (2002), collaboration relief on trust and it is directly influence by four issues, which is organization climate, employee’s attitude to the work context, the responses of supervisor, and support by work group.

Based on the study from Willem, Buelens and Scarbrough (2006), the success in knowledge sharing is dependent primarily on trust. As we can see, trust is of crucial significance (Janowicz-Panjaitan & Noorderhaven, 2009). Further, leadership is responsible to guide others in a knowledge network in order to build relationship and sustain involvement with knowledge focus. Trust therefore is a key element of the relationship building, as people are not willing to provide their intellectual assets if they feel vulnerable and threatened by the values being adopted (Debowski, 2006).

To strengthen and build up the trust in an organization, they should set up an online community interaction with teleconferences to improve trustiness between the members. Besides, face-to-face meeting should conduct often. Moreover, organization needs to create a set of institutional norms that clearly stated that the expectation of organization which is knowledge sharing in order to prevent misuse of shared information, and the employees would trust in the integrity of the organization (Ardichvili, 2008). Learning

The concept of learning has been growing gradually in current years. Learning becomes one of the important elements in an organizational performance improvement. Learning is assumed as an intangible product of knowledge that obtain through the process of transmission, distribution and appropriation of information (Gherardi & Nicolini, 2000). According to Smith (1999), learning occurs when a person absorb the knowledge he/she hear or see or read to improve him/her understanding. Beside, learning occurs when engaging in communication with other people and participating in an activity (McFarlane, 2006) or when the experience of one group changing to competences of another group.

Although the conception of learning of Saljo (1979) is carried out for a long time, this is very useful to understand the meaning of learning. The five categories of learning have been brought out as below:

  • Learning is a quantitative of knowledge.
  • Learning is storing information that can be reproduced.
  • Learning contains facts, methods, and skills that can be used as necessary.
  • Learning is relating the subject matter to each other and to the whole world.
  • Learning is to understand the truth in a different situation.

According to Chiva and Alegre (2005), learning can be classified into individual learning and organizational learning. Individual learning comprises of three groups, which is behaviourist, cognitivist, and humanist. Other than that, individual learning has three types of mode, such as adaptive learning mode, generative learning mode, and transformative learning mode (Song & Chermack, 2008). In adaptive learning mode, individuals learn from the past experiences and present experiences, and this are important to the individuals who have interaction with any other types of organization environment (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995). Moreover, generative learning mode is an effective way in organization to allow employees to generate knowledge, new skills, and so on (Sessa & London, 2006). Besides, transformative learning mode is transfer the knowledge that has been learned to the workplace (Song & Chermack, 2008).

Conversely, organizational learning refers to the learning process within organization. It is lead by academics from people which is one of the crucial sources for it. For interorganizational learning, employees should cooperate with each other in order to flow the knowledge within the organization (Janowicz-Panjaitan & Noorderhaven, 2009). Thus, all the members can learn the knowledge at the same way.

Wenger (1998) suggests that learning has two characteristics which are experience and regime of competence. Meanwhile, new experiences will bring to new competences. This view describes that learning is not an addition of knowledge and information, but is a “translation of knowing”. Behavior

To promote a knowledge sharing culture, an organization is not only to set up a business strategy but also to change their employee behaviors and attitudes in order to improve their willingness to contribute and to collect knowledge within organization (Lin & Lee, 2004). Therefore, high level management should enable and enhance the behaviors of enjoy the satisfaction in helping others among employees as leaders have a strong and powerful source of influence on employees’ work behaviors (Yukl, 2002).

Additionally, employees are willing to share knowledge when they believe the behavior of knowledge sharing is worth and it able to benefit to them and also other colleagues (Wasko & Faraj, 2005). After that, self-efficacy is also one of the sources in knowledge sharing behavior as it can motivates employees to develop greater positive willingness to share knowledge with others (Wasko & Faraj, 2005). However, self-efficacy is recognized as the judgment of individual based on their capacity in a specific performance. People with self-efficacy believe the knowledge they contribute will help to overcome job-related problems and it is also improve the work efficiency (Luthans, 2003).

2.2.2 Extrinsic Motivational Factors Organizational culture

Culture is a knowledge that is shared above a minimum of threshold within a population (Barth, 2003). As Caulkins (2004) said, to identify cultures is not only determining the pattern of knowledge sharing, but also the content of the culture area. Traditional definitions of organizational culture can be identified as how the things we do here to the composition that includes the transfer of idea from person to person (Sentell, 1998). Further, a number of researchers mentioned that organization culture comprises of the components of routine behavior, value, philosophy, norms, and feeling (Martin & Terblanche, 2003).

Organizational culture means a culture that encourages the behavior of knowledge contributing and collecting within organization (Hackett, 2000). To establish a successful knowledge sharing, some concepts must exist such as trust, management support, behavior, and leadership in an organization (Barachini, 2003). Usually, there are different features of organization climate in the context of knowledge sharing, and it is important influences of knowledge sharing, for instance reward systems related to knowledge sharing (Bartol & Srivastaya, 2002).

Organizational culture can be also referred as the deeply seated values and beliefs shared by personnel within organization (Dasgupta & Gupta, 2009). Schein’s (1997) model considered that three levels of organizational culture. The first level is named as artifacts, which means the daily attitude or presentation of the company. Next is espoused values which is the mission statements of the company, and the third level is called shared tacit assumptions, it means the faiths or values that are linked to the history of the company.

To improve an organization performance, top management supposes to create a culture. The culture is built by leaders and also other key staffs that learn from their experience, and then influence others to create an environment that learning from all the member of staffs in community (Marsick & Watkins, 2003).

In additional, one of the critical drivers on organizational knowledge is top management support (Connelly & Kelloway, 2003). A number of studies found that top management support is important to create a supportive climate and to provide adequate resources to organizational knowledge sharing climate (Lin, 2007). Lin and Lee (2004) emphasized the encouragement of top management support is necessary and needed for building and maintaining a positive knowledge sharing culture in an organization.

Likewise, a culture of knowledge exchange should enhanced by organization in order to provide more opportunities to employees work out new ideas. Other than that, top management level should also stimulate an open, innovative and informal culture to develop the free interchange of knowledge, therefore the particular culture will be strengthened and ensure a long-term competitive advantage. As we can see, employees do not have the opportunities to illustrate their knowledge without management support, it will result a reduction of capabilities of knowledge sharing (De lange, Smit, & Taminiau, 2007).

Weggeman (2004) argued that organization should shift the mindset culture towards a sharing ideas culture. This is because it is significant for the company to motivate and encourage a culture of knowledge sharing, employees need to carry out their thinking and ideas actively and share with others. As a result, all the members will benefit if the process of knowledge sharing is successful. Rewards system

Rewards are considered as an important element to knowledge sharing within intranet, in the formation and creation of knowledge sharing networks, and the success of knowledge management program within organizations (Ipe, 2003). Rewards and penalties that employees perceived will affect them to share or not to share knowledge, and it will directly influence the knowledge sharing process in an organization. Furthermore, several researchers found that important changes had to be made in the rewards system to stimulate employees to share their knowledge, especially through organization technology-based networks (Gupta & Govindarajan, 2000).

Rewards are tools that high management level encourages individuals to engage in organization work that they would otherwise not have engaged in. Employees will be motivated to engage in knowledge sharing if they obtain something in return for the knowledge they share. Most of the organizations have practiced reward systems since organization rewards are useful for motivate employees to share their knowledge (Bartol & Srivastava, 2002).

Organization rewards is identified as the organization values shape employee behaviors (Cabrera & Bonache, 1999). Organizational rewards can range from monetary rewards like increased bonuses and salary, to non-monetary rewards like promotions and job security, to awards like praise and public recognition that do not have a monetary equivalent value (Bartol & Srivastava, 2002; Davenport & Prusak, 1998).

In additionally, Bartol & Srivastava, (2002) argued that rewards could also be intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic rewards are the pleasure derived from performing jobs itself whereas extrinsic rewards are such as monetary rewards. Some important aspects of organizational reward systems that are useful for encouraging employees to perform the targeted behaviors, such as perceived fairness of rewards, employees will set targets and goals to achieve the attractive rewards, and practices that insure all employees contain self-efficacy for performing the jobs (Bartol & Locke, 2000).

Moreover, there are regarding whether knowledge sharing is rewarded at the level of the individual, the team, or across teams. For the individual level rewards, organizations reward individuals for their knowledge sharing behavior. At the team level, it may be possible to organizations to encourage knowledge sharing through indirect rewards, which is the rewards that are contingent on factors other than knowledge sharing, but which are expected to acquire knowledge sharing for successful performance. Besides, there are benefits to be earned by sharing knowledge between companies or subsidiaries in the case of companies with different businesses in other countries. The rewards will be given on the basis of performance of the firm as a whole.

To ensure the fairness of rewards, some of the organizations measure the worth of the knowledge that is shared by individuals and make decisions on the values of rewards consequently. However, organization rewards needed to induce the employees to share their knowledge, it will result the organization to achieve competitive advantages (Bartol & Srivastava, 2002). Information Technology

Technology is defined as the collective instruments that used to perform the tasks more effective and efficiency (Willem, Buelens, & Scarbrough, 2005). According to Lin, Lee, and Wang (2008), information technology comprises of technology infrastructure, database utilization, and knowledge network. Based on a study by Sharifuddin and Rowland (2004), there is no surprising that 86% of people agreed that technology is the most essential element in creating and gaining knowledge. As we can see, majority of organizations are relying heavily on information technology since technology advance has significantly helped the growth of knowledge management (Pan & Leidner, 2003).

Knowledge sharing is regularly linked to supporting knowledge exchange through information technology (IT) ability. The capability of IT is increase the knowledge base available to all employees and allows them to cooperate together in order to increase employees productivity and compatibility in promoting knowledge sharing within organization (McDermott & O’Dell, 2001). If information technology is used well by organizations, it may improve workflows, increase quality of products, improve the relationship between organization and customers, and also develop interaction between customers and suppliers (Dasgupta & Gupta, 2009).

Moreover, numerous researchers found that advanced information and communication technology (ICT) application and network systems are the primary driver of knowledge sharing in organization (Pan & Leidner, 2003).. Hence, the transmission of knowledge, know-how and technology across borders are gradually growing because all these are facilitated by ICT (Jamaludin, 2006).

The domain of knowledge management has traditionally been dominated by information technology and technology-driven perspectives (Davenport, De Long, & Beers, 1998). Typically, the use of ICT is closely relevant to knowledge management. Zack (1999) argued that the ICT play three important roles in knowledge management activities:

  • To gain knowledge
  • To define, Store, category, index, and link knowledge-related resources.
  • To identify and classified related content.

To create an effective knowledge management, employees should sharing their intellectual assets through ICT facilities as ICT can provide effectual communication channels for collecting knowledge, correcting flow process, and categorizing the location of knowledge transmits and requesters (Yeh, Lai & Ho, 2006). Besides, organization is easily to communicate and share knowledge by using ICT which include intranet, online databases, groupware, and virtual communities (Koh & Kim, 2004). It can be effectively used to facilitate the codification, integration, dissemination of organizational knowledge (Song, 2002).

Further, ICT can enable search rapidly, access and retrieval of information, but also can support collaboration and interaction among employees (Huysman & Wulf, 2006). Other than that, ICT allow organizations to enlarge social networks to overcome geographical boundaries, and therefore achieve more valuable collaborative activities (Pan & Leidner, 2003).

2.3 Organizational performance

There is a closely relationship between motivational factors and knowledge sharing to organizational performance. For the example of insurance companies, knowledge sharing will influence the innovation of the company, the customer satisfaction to the company, and the quality of insurance company’s products.

2.3.1 Innovation

The concept of innovation allows business organization to create value and thereby achieve competitive success. Innovating is defined as an important way of creating value, whereas innovation illustrates the activity of innovating, or the result of the particular activity, which is innovative product or service (Wijnberg, 2004). Meanwhile, innovation is understood as the successful introduction of something new and useful, such as new techniques, new methods, new products and services (Dasgupta & Gupta, 2009).

In other words, innovation is described as an idea, object, or a practice that is identified as new by an individual (Steele & Murray, 2004). According to Soo (2002), innovation is a mixture of process and outputs that involve new or modifies products and services, new marketing techniques, new managerial tools, and others which represented by presentation at conferences or publications. In general, Wijinberg (2004) argued that an innovation is a new thing which is presented in such a way that the selectors will determine the values.

In the view of Dasgupta and Gupta (2009), Innovation is a pre-requirement for organizations attain competitive advantage. Product innovation is a product that is newly created, while process innovation is the process where an efficient method of production is reached because of the new application to existing process.

Other than that, the importance of innovation has been formulated by Wijinberg (2004) has shown as following.

“The importance of an innovation is the extent to which the innovation is connected with changes in the relative valuations of products satisfying the same set of preferences, of the set of preference, of the composition of the set of selectors or of the characteristics of the selection system itself.”

The key of success in an organization’s innovation is enabling knowledge sharing and knowledge creation (Mooradian, Renzl & Matzler, 2009). Hence, most of the organizations encourage both organizational learning and knowledge management reinforce to each other in order to motivate the innovation process which leads to new products and services’ creation or to improve the process and existing products and services (Dasgupta & Gupta, 2009). Furthermore, innovation process will leads to the creation of new knowledge which is created of the success or failure of the innovation process.

2.3.2 Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction measures of how products and services provided by a company meet customer expectation (Wikipedia, 2009). It is identified as a major key performance indicator within business. In other words, customer satisfaction is defined as a key and valued outcome of high-quality marketing practice (Malthouse, Oakley, Calder, & Lacobucci, 2004). Also, customer satisfaction is classified as antecedent of increase market share, positive word of mouth, profitability, and customer retention (Anderson, Fornell, & Lehman, 1994).

According to Anderson, Fornell, and Lehmann (1994), the principal objective of a business is to build satisfied customers, because the higher customer satisfaction leads to higher future profitability. As a result, customer satisfaction is imperative from both parties, which are a customer goodwill perspective and an organization’s financial perspective.

Based on the report of Prudential insurance company (2009), customer satisfaction is referred as how satisfied customers are with the products and services they perceived from a agency. However, the level of satisfaction is determined by the quality of customer experiences and also by the customer expectations. Moreover, customer satisfaction is extremely significant to them, because it reflects the overall performance of the company and the goodwill and images of the company as well.

Some of the reasons why customer satisfaction is so important for insurance companies are include as below (, 2006):

  • Customers are getting the help and the right response from the agents when they have any inquiries.
  • Customers are getting good protection from the company when they are filing claims.
  • Customers are having good and friendly customer service agents in consultation.
  • Customers are getting fast help when they need help.
  • Customers are getting the updated news about the products of the company.

Nonetheless, Prudential Life Insurance Company (2009) argued that there are three major reasons of why customer satisfaction is essential for insurance sector. Firstly, customers have a right to require a good quality services that deliver outcomes, because meeting the needs of the customer is the underlying rationale for the occurrence of community service organization. Secondly, the organizations that attempt beyond minimum levels and exceed the expectations of their customers are expected to be leaders in insurance industry.

Finally, customers are known as the key partners in assessing service development and quality of service delivery. As we can see, the process for measuring customer satisfaction and collecting feedback on organizational performance are valuable and helpful to companies in order to improve their quality services and performance.

2.3.3 Quality

An effective knowledge sharing process will leads to a good quality of an organization. By the way, the term of quality is identified as a crucial property of products and services in which high quality products are classified as those products that meet customer needs, do not have problem or failure when using, and no threats to human well-being (Juran, 2004). In addition, Affiaine and Zalina (2008) said that quality is an elusive and very difficult to define objectively as there is several of definition in different perspective.

Nonetheless, quality management is defined as a holistic process of conformance to standards at operation levels to reduce mistakes and errors in order to meet necessary expectations (Akdere, 2009). Nevertheless, Flynn, Schroeder, & Sakakibara (1994) suggested that quality management is

“an integrated approach to achieving and sustaining high quality output, focusing on the maintenance and continuous improvement of processes and prevention at all levels and in all functions of the organization, in order to meet or exceed customer expectations.”

According to Akdere (2009), knowledge management supports both learning and performance within organization. Knowledge management is considered as an element in the quality management process which can help to increase knowledge creation and utilization in organization. Actually, without knowledge sharing process, quality management cannot exist since quality management requires collection of information and analysis data in all steps.

Besides, service quality is the experience of individual of a service forms the basis of a measurement of its quality (Affiaine and Zalina, 2008). For the study, the service quality of an insurance company is typically important since the insurance companies in Malaysia are strongly competing to each other. Furthermore, service quality is referred as the customer perceived quality which stresses the individual’s estimation of the value of total services offering (Gummesson, 1992). Consequently, the reputation of insurance companies will grow regularly if the companies are managing high value service that is satisfied by customers.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

3.1 Formulating Research Framework

This research is an exploratory study of knowledge sharing among Malaysian life insurance agents. Practical of knowledge sharing among insurance agents is intensively studied and the motivational factors that influence knowledge sharing even an organization performance will be determined.

After conducting the interviews, defining the problems, and completing a literature review, one is ready to develop a theoretical framework. A theoretical framework is a conceptual model of how one theorizes or makes logical sense of the relationships among the several causes that have been recognized as important to the problem (Sekaran, 2003). According to Borgatti (1999), a collection of interrelated concepts, such as a theory but not necessarily so well worked-out is known as theoretical framework. It’s also guide your research, determining what statistical relationship you will look for, and what things you will measure.

There is two types of variable involve in theoretical framework, which is dependent variable and independent variable. Before the understanding of these variables, a variable is anything that can take on differing or varying values. The values can differ at various times for the same object or person, or for different objects or persons at the same time (Sekaran, 2003). Besides, dependent variable is the variable of primary interest to the researcher to allow researcher to understand and illustrate the dependent variable, or to explain its variability. For this research, knowledge sharing is the dependent variable.

On the other hand, researcher will be interested in quantifying and measuring the other variables that influence dependent variable, which called independent variable. An independent variable is one that affect the dependent variable either positive or negative way. In short, the variance in the dependent variable is accounted for by the independent variable (Sekaran, 2003). For this study, motivational factors are the independent variable, whereby it is divided into intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors.

3.2 Variables

3.2.1 Independent variables


Trust is assessment of trustworthiness to a person (Levin & Cross, 2004). The more the employees trust each other, the higher the possibility that they communicate and share knowledge with each other (Dasgupta & Gupta, 2009).


Learning is the knowledge that obtains through the process of transmission, distribution and appropriation of information (Gherardi & Nicolini, 2000). The higher the learning ability of a firm, the higher the accuracy of the knowledge that is shared by employees, thus the greater the level of organization innovativeness.


Behavior is difficult to express, having no meaning, being not directed at others, it is the most basic human action. Behaviors of enjoy the satisfaction in helping others are willing to share their knowledge (Yukl, 2002).

Organizational culture

Organizational culture is a culture that involved values and belief shared by personnel within organization (Dasgupta & Gupta, 2009). Employees are willing to contribute and to collect the knowledge if the culture is created.

Reward system

Reward is used by organization to encourage employees to engage knowledge sharing by giving monetary or non-monetary incentives (Bartol & Srivastava, 2002)

Information technology

Information technology is increase knowledge base available to all members of staffs and improves the productivity of employees in encouraging knowledge sharing (McDermott & O’Dell, 2001).

3.2.2 Dependent Variables

Knowledge sharing

Ipe (2003) suggested that knowledge sharing is the process of creating knowledge available within the individual or organization. A successful knowledge sharing will highly improve the organizational performance.

3.2.3 Outcomes


Innovation is described as an idea, object, or a practice that is identified as the successful introduction of something new by an individual (Steele & Murray, 2004). An effective knowledge sharing will leads to a organization innovativeness.

Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is the degree of satisfaction to the products or services that meet customer expectation. The greater customer satisfaction, the higher company profitability.


Quality is a measurement to describe a product or service. Quality management is a process in order to reduce errors and mistakes to meet the expectation (Akdere, 2009).

3.3 Hypothesis Development

Once the important variables and the relationships among them have been identified and established, we need to test whether the relationships that have been theorized are true or not. By testing these relationships systematically, we are able to obtain reliable information on what kinds of relationships exist among the variables operating in the problem situation. The results of tests allow us to recognize what could be changed in the situation to overcome the problems. The process of formulating testable statement is named hypotheses development (Sekaran, 2003).

A logically conjectured relationship between two or more variables expressed in the form of a testable statement is called as a hypothesis. Relationships are conjectured on the basis of the network of associations established in the theoretical framework formulated for the research study. It is expected that solutions can be found to correct the problem encountered by testing the hypotheses and confirming the conjectured relationships.


Trust tends to increase a person’s willingness to share knowledge between business units. Without trust, employees are not able to contribute their knowledge and to collect knowledge from others. Hence, trust is a major key to allow employees are willing to share knowledge in an organization (Debowski, 2006).

H1: There is a significant relationship between trust as intrinsic motivational factor and knowledge sharing process.


Learning becomes more and more essential to employees in order to improve organization performance. Janowicz-Panjaitan & Noorderhaven (2009) indicated that employees must work together to flow the knowledge within the online community to allow all the members of staffs learn together.

H2: There is a significant relationship between learning as intrinsic motivational factor and knowledge sharing process.


Organization should not only focus in marketing strategy, but also concern to the employees’ behaviors (Lin & Lee, 2004). Good attitudes of employees will lead to a well-organized knowledge sharing process.

H3: There is a significant relationship between employees’ behavior as intrinsic motivational factor and knowledge sharing process.

Organization culture

Organization culture plays a significant role in knowledge sharing because it encourages employees to perform actively in knowledge sharing process (Hackett, 2000). Employees are not going to contribute their intellectual assets without the support of organization culture.

H4: There is a significant relationship between organization culture as extrinsic motivational factor and knowledge sharing process.

Rewards system

Rewards are considered one of the motivation factors that lead to a successful knowledge management since it will motivate employees to share their knowledge no matter monetary or non-monetary incentives (Davenport & Prusak, 1998).

H5: There is a significant relationship between the existence of rewards system as extrinsic motivational factor and knowledge sharing process.

Information Technology

Employees can only share their knowledge effectively and efficiency through organization technology-based network (Gupta & Govindarajan, 2000). Therefore information technology advance will improve the growth of knowledge sharing.

H6: There is a significant relationship between information technology as extrinsic motivational factor and knowledge sharing process.

Knowledge sharing process and organizational performance

Knowledge management is closely relevant to the organization performance since the successful of knowledge sharing will develop a high-quality organizational performance (Debowski, 2006).

H7: There is a significant relationship between knowledge sharing process and organizational performance.

3.4 Data collection

3.4.1 Motivational Factors


Trust was assessed by item measures each adopted from Tschannen-Moran and Hoy (2001). It measures personal knowledge-based trust and institution-based trust.


Learning assessed by item measures which measures individual learning and organizational learning (Chiva & Alegre, 2005). Besides, individual learning comprises of adaptive learning mode, generative learning mode, and transformative learning mode (Song & Chermack, 2008).


Behavior assessed by item measures each adopted from Wasko & Faraj (2005). It measures the self-efficacy is one of the behavior sources of employees.

Organizational culture

Organizational culture assessed by item measures which measures artifacts (presentation and attitude of company), espoused value (mission statement of company), and shared tacit assumptions (faiths or values of company).

Rewards systems

Reward assessed by item measures adopted from Davenport and Prusak (1998). It measures monetary (salary and bonus) and non-monetary rewards (promotion and job security).

Information Technology

Information technology assessed by item measures which measures technology infrastructure, database utilization, and knowledge network (Lin, Lee & Wang, 2008).

3.4.2 Knowledge Sharing Process

Nature of Knowledge

Nature of knowledge was assessed by item measures each adopted from Ipe (2003). It measures by tacit and explicit knowledge. However, Tacit knowledge means the knowledge is nature but hard to express. Explicit knowledge means the knowledge can be easily explained and codified.

Opportunities to Share

Opportunities to Share were assessed by item measures each adopted from Ipe (2003). It measures of formal and informal opportunities. Formal opportunities include purposive learning channels whereas informal opportunities include relational learning channels.

Motivation to Share

Motivation to share was assessed by item measures each adopted from Ipe (2003). It measured by intrinsic and explicit motivational factors. Intrinsic factors are knowledge self-efficacy and enjoyment in helping others, whereas extrinsic factors are expected benefits and recipient earned.

3.4.3 Organizational performance


Innovation was assessed by item measures each adopted fromDasgupta & Gupta (2009). It measures the something new and useful, such as new techniques, new methods, new products and services.

Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction was assessed by item measures which measures the antecedent of increase market share, positive word of mouth, profitability, and customer retention (Anderson, Fornell, & Lehman, 1994).


Quality was assessed by item measures which is meet customer needs, no fail when using, and no threats to human well-being (Juran, 2004).

3.5 Research Procedures

To provide logical flame of references in this research, the following outlines of the events and procedures were developed:

  • Development of questionnaires
  • Identification of Malaysian Life Insurance Companies that necessary to obtain the minimum sample size. While 100% of the sample sates were desirable, the minimum survey sample size required to be considered valid was 95%.
  • Analysis of the data obtained from the survey questionnaires.

3.6 Sources of research

To examine how variables are measured, we need to gather all data with the purpose of analysis, testing hypothesis and answering the research questions. Besides, the effective and strictness research project will be developed with the sources of the information. Normally, there are two different types of data can be obtained which are primary and secondary sources (Sekaran, 2003).

Primary data identify as the information that obtained firsthand by the researcher on the variables of interest for the specific purpose of the study (Sekaran, 2003). Further, researcher obtains the information through observation, questionnaire, interview, etc. Basically, primary data is more reliable to collect data since the researchers know where the sources came from and how it is analyzed.

Secondary data identify as the information gathered from sources already existing and do not have to be collected from researcher (Sekaran, 2003). In general, researcher obtains secondary information from government publications, company records, websites, and others. Moreover, secondary data is the faster way to acquire the information compared to the primary data, this is due to the reason that such data is already available and researchers can get it every way. It may help them to save time and save money.

For this research, questionnaire method had been selected to obtain primary data. A questionnaire is a question that pre-formulated written set to which respondents record their answers. Questionnaire is widely used by researchers since this is an efficient data collection method when the researchers understand what is required and how to measure the variables of interest. Other than that, questionnaires can be administered personally, mailed to the respondents, or electronically distributed.

3.7 Sample Design

Surveys are very useful and powerful in finding answers to research questions through data collection and subsequent analyses, but it will lack of reliability if the population is not correctly targeted. In short, if data are not collected from target respondents that can provide the correct answers to solve the problem, the survey would be unsuccessful. As a result, the process of choosing the right individuals, objects, or events for study which known as sampling is important (Sekaran, 2003).

For this research, the sample areas of Malaysian Life Insurance Companies in Malacca and Seremban were selected. The selection of this sample was based on simple random sampling and 150 questionnaires were distributed to each. Simple random sampling is also called as unrestricted probability sampling design, which means that every element in the population has know and equal opportunity of being selected as a subject.

The questionnaires were designed as the questions about motivational factors of knowledge sharing and effects of organizational performance. This survey targeted all the agents as well as the high level management in the Malaysian life insurance companies, such as Great Eastern, Prudential, AIA, and so on.

3.8 Development of Research Questions

For the research, a questionnaire survey was conducted to obtain data for the study. The questionnaire will be divided into four sections, which are Section A, B, C, D. Section A contains the background of the respondents was disclosed. For instances, insurance company, gender, age, state, education level, position, salary, etc. Section B includes questions that asking the respondents to answer either agree or disagree on the issues of knowledge sharing motivational factors in their company.

Section C includes the questions about knowledge sharing process that commonly conduct in the respondents’ company, and section D contains the question about outcomes of knowledge sharing.

Moreover, these sections had been developed by using Likert Scale which is a psychometric scale that designed to examine how strongly subjects agree or disagree with statement on a five-point scale. The respondents were asked to answer their agreement or disagreement to a statement. The five-point scale was labeled in the following:

  • Strongly disagree
  • Disagree
  • Neutral
  • Agree
  • Strongly agree

3.9 Pilot Study

A pilot study, also called a “pilot experiment”, which is small scale preliminary study conducted before the main research improve the design and check the feasibility. Pilot studies are usually carried out before large-scale quantitative research in order to avoid time and money being wasted on inefficiently designed studies. Further, a pilot is regularly used to test the design of the full-scale experiment (Wikipedia, 2009).

However, Van Teijlingen & Hundley (2001) suggested that pilot study is an essential element of a good study design. It is referred as mini versions of a full-scale study, as well as the specific pre-testing of a particular research instrument for example questionnaire and interview. Moreover, pilot study provides valuable insights for the researchers since it fulfills a range of important functions for them.

Additionally, validity and reliability play a significant role for questionnaires. Validity is the degree to which a study accurately assesses the concept the researchers tend to measure (Howell, miller, Park, Sattlem, Schack, Spery, Widhalm & Palmquist, 2005). The reliability of a measure means the extent which it is without bias (mistake or error) and therefore ensures consistent over time and across the various items in the instrument. Besides, it is also an indication of the stability with which the instrument measures the concept and helps to assess the “goodness” of a measure (Wikipedia, 2009).

3.10 Data Analysis and Measurement

Data analysis and interpretation of results may be most significantly explained by referring to a research project. The research will carried out and the sample will discuss the analysis done to obtain data, after that reliability is established to test each hypothesis. For this survey, both descriptive and inferential statistics have been used.

According to Sekaran (2003), descriptive statistics are identified as the statistics such as frequencies, the mean, and the standard deviation, which provide descriptive information of a set of data. In other words, descriptive statistics simply describing what is or what the data shows. It is generally used to describe the basic of the data in a study. It provides a simple summary about the sample and the measures. After that, they form the basis of virtually every quantitative analysis of data together with simple graphics analysis. There are three major characteristics involved in descriptive statistics, which are the distribution, the central tendency, and the dispersion (Trochim, 2006).

Conversely, inferential statistics are referred as the statistics that help to establish relationships among variables and to represent conclusions (Sekaran, 2003). Moreover, inferential statistics are used to make inferences from the data to more general conditions and inferential statistics are normally come form a general family of statistical models called as the General Linear Model which includes t-test, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), regression analysis, etc (Trochim, 2006).


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