A Multilevel Analysis of the Influences of Employee Expertise and Quality of Interpersonal Relationships on Organizational Knowledge Creation: The Moderating Role of Transformational Leadership
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In the era of information and technology, organizations’ competitive advantage and sustainability increasingly depend on how they effectively create new knowledge. Drawing on relevant theories, this study examined the associations of organizational knowledge creation (OKC) with employee expertise and the quality of interpersonal relationships. It also investigated the moderating role of transformational leadership in explaining these relationships. Along with multiple preliminary data analyses, hierarchical liner modeling was performed to analyze multilevel data collected from 218 white-collar employees from 44 teams in diverse U.S. organizations. The study results indicated that employee expertise and the quality of interpersonal relationships are positively associated with OKC. A positive relationship of OKC with transformational leadership was also supported. Unexpectedly, a negative moderating role of transformational leadership was found in explaining the relationship between OKC and the quality of interpersonal relationships. In other words, when transformational leadership is high, the positive association between OKC and the quality of interpersonal relationships is attenuated. However, there was no significant moderating effect of transformational leadership in explaining the relationship between OKC and employee expertise. That is, the impact of employee expertise on OKC is generally positive regardless of the degree to which transformational leadership is exercised. This study contributes to both the organizational knowledge creation and leadership literature. For the organizational knowledge creation literature, it expands our understanding of how the three essential elements (i.e., ba, knowledge assets, and the SECI process) of organizational knowledge creation influence and interact with each other. The current study has value in providing first empirical evidence of unique combinations of variables influencing organizational knowledge creation process. For the leadership literature, this study sheds light on a contingent or even negative side of transformational leadership. From a practical standpoint, this study contributes to white-collar organizations wanting to increase their capabilities for organizational knowledge creation by informing individual and contextual enablers and understanding the interplay among them. HR practitioners and management should provide their employees with HR interventions that help increase employee expertise and cultivate positive interpersonal relationships in the workplace. As for leadership development, transformational leadership training is recommended, but with some caveats. Research agendas for future scholars are also suggested along with the study limitations.
SubjectOrganizational Knowledge Creation
Quality of Interpersonal Relationships
Jeong, Shinhee (2018). A Multilevel Analysis of the Influences of Employee Expertise and Quality of Interpersonal Relationships on Organizational Knowledge Creation: The Moderating Role of Transformational Leadership. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from