The Components, Consequences, and Contingencies of Technology-Based Knowledge Acquisition Behavior



Technology-based acquisition behavior, defined as the individual’s act of acquiring electronic documents from knowledge repositories, has been posited to play a vital role in knowledge transfer among members within an organization. While prior research has laid the foundations, what still remains elusive is a nuanced understanding of acquisition behaviors and the contingencies that impact their efficacy. The purpose of this study is twofold. First, it addresses the need to recognize and clarify the dimensionality of acquisition behavior. Drawing from self-regulation and social cognition theories, we identify two components of acquisition behavior, frequency and intensity. Further, we recognize the role of personal and social knowledge in moderating the relationships between acquisition behaviors and performance outcomes. Second, this study develops a research model hypothesizing that acquisition frequency and acquisition intensity each influence individual performance. Further, it also hypothesizes that professional experience and team membership moderates these relationships. We test the hypothesized research model on a comprehensive dataset of 18,219 real estate agents in the United States. Results indicate that both acquisition frequency and intensity influence individual agent’s financial performance. Interestingly, acquisition frequency is shown to interact with social knowledge whereas acquisition intensity interacts with personal knowledge, indicating a nuanced interplay between each component of acquisition behavior and the context. Theoretical and practical implications of the study are discussed.