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    Technology-Facilitated Contribution Behavior: An...
    research summary posted July 20, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 10.0 Engagement Management, 10.03 Interaction among Team Members, 10.04 Interactions with Client Management 
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    Title:
    Technology-Facilitated Contribution Behavior: An Experimental Investigation.
    Practical Implications:

    The results speak to the importance of recruiting competent professionals to the workforce and making specific requests for assistance that include required deliverables. As individuals build confidence in their expertise and understand exactly how to assist, they will be able to provide higher-quality responses to share knowledge. This study extends the literature by operationalizing and studying mediating mechanisms to motivation to contribute and contribution quality separately. This study extends this research in an experimental setting to analyze factors expected to affect the motivation to contribute and contribution quality. By incorporating a collaboration platform included in the Microsoft Office Suite (i.e., a single technology), the effect of technology was controlled in the research design.

    Citation:

    Du, H., Lehmann, C. M., & Willson, V. L. 2014. Technology-Facilitated Contribution Behavior: An Experimental Investigation. Behavioral Research In Accounting 26 (2): 97-130.

    Keywords:
    collaboration, contribution behavior, motivation to contribute, response quality
    Purpose of the Study:

    Contribution behavior is described as voluntarily providing assistance or sharing knowledge when a colleague makes a request for assistance. The importance of knowledge sharing, specifically in the form of contribution behavior is an area of interest to accounting professionals. An inability or unwillingness to share professional knowledge and expertise within an accounting firm can lead to lower-quality or less-efficient audits. The purpose of this study is to examine the motivation to contribute but also examines contribution quality. This study also evaluates the mediating mechanisms of knowledge about the individual requesting assistance, the expertise level of the contributor, and the specificity of the request in the motivation to contribute, as well as the contribution quality.

    Design/Method/ Approach:

    The theoretic research model is structured to focus on the three key elements in contribution behavior: awareness, searching and matching, and formulation and delivery. The experiment was designed using a collaboration application that is included in the Microsoft Office Suite. One hundred eighty-three graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in Accounting Information Systems classes (both graduate and undergraduate levels) and a graduate IT Auditing class at a large commuter university served as participants in this study. The evidence was gathered prior to April 2014.

    Findings:

    While knowledge about a requester motivates the individual to contribute and the individual’s prior positive experience with the requester enhances the motivation, the individual’s expertise level on domain knowledge and the specificity of request are not associated with motivation to contribute. However, with regard to contribution quality, domain knowledge and specificity of request are positively associated with higher contribution quality, making these mediating effects pronounced in contribution quality, but not in motivation to contribute.

    The results indicate that individuals are more motivated to respond to a request for assistance if they feel at ease with the requester. Their domain knowledge and the specificity of a request further improve the contribution quality. The implications of this study point to the importance of developing a collegial and interactive environment in which professionals are more likely to share knowledge to help each other. Creating opportunities for friendly and positive experiences with colleagues encourages employees to respond to requests for assistance. Accounting firms can foster an environment that promotes contribution behavior by developing cooperative and positive relationships among employees so that when someone needs help, there is a higher likelihood that there will be responses because of familiarity with the requesting colleagues. Moreover, the professional’s expertise level or domain knowledge and the specificity of the request are relevant. While not directly related to the motivation to assist the requester, expertise and specificity of the request are associated with the contribution quality.

    Category:
    Engagement Management
    Sub-category:
    Interaction among Team Members, Interactions with Client Management