Knowledge Intensive Jobs & Well-Being of Knowledge Professionals : Development and Validation of a Multi-Construct Framework in the Indian Context
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Managing knowledge work and knowledge workers is of growing importance in theory as well as in practice. Organizations are continuously evolving value added work. It is observed over a period of time, that manual work is reducing and educated work force is delivering, executing and successfully performing organizational activities. Particularly in Indian context there is a phenomenal growth in employment of knowledge professionals. They contribute towards building value through their innovation, new technology and its application. Knowledge professionals possess the talent and required skills to cater to organizational competitive demands. Knowledge professional creates knowledge and transfer knowledge to other professionals. There are several univariate studies focusing on satisfaction, stress, motivation, there are also studies which talks about knowledge transfer aspects, but they are not studied in the context of knowledge professionals and linking them to value added behavior and well-being. This is a multi-construct study with an attempt to explain causal relationship between knowledge professionals, organizational & knowledge practice, knowledge transfer modes, enhanced valued behavior and well-being, for which the existing literature is reviewed. Literature review for this study has been broadly classified into four major headings, i.e. knowledge professionals, organizational and knowledge practices, knowledge transfer modes and finally well-being of knowledge professionals. Knowledge professionals are dealing with the increase in knowledge intensive work and therefore there is a need to link knowledge professionals to over all organizational strategies and focus on their well-being. The different practices in both organizational and knowledge identifies the purpose of such different practices and how it affects the expertise in the professionals. Practices tend to vary based on the human processes in the different sectors. Several studies focused on knowledge transfer and also identified the modes of transfer of knowledge in terms of one to one basis, formal and informal, on the job trainings, apprenticeships etc., in the past. Lastly, work profile, different practices and modes of knowledge transfer tends to have a bearing on well-being. There are several univariate and bivariate research studies conducted on knowledge and knowledge management practices existing within the organization. Knowledge professionals are the most valuable resource of the organization as they contribute to maximum growth of their organization. Hence there is a need to understand their well-being. But previous research has not focused on this dimension of knowledge professionals. Earlier studies have not focused in detail about the knowledge intensiveness in knowledge professionals work profile, nor its impact on their well-being. Therefore we found a need to focus our study on understanding the knowledge professionals work profile and their well-being. Though there are various studies on knowledge transfer but there is a paucity of studies in the area of knowledge professionals, and its impact on the valued behavior of the organization. We further felt the need to study the relationship existing between well-being of knowledge professionals and knowledge transfer modes. Based on this we framed our objectives of the study as follows: To develop a framework for relating knowledge work, organizational & knowledge practices, and the role of modes of knowledge transfer on valued behavior and well-being. To understand the effect of different knowledge intensive work on valued behavior and well-being. To suggest appropriate managerial initiatives to sustain knowledge work and well-being of knowledge professionals. In order to achieve the above mentioned objectives, conceptual framework was formalized. Thorough literature review helped in identifying gaps in the research. Discussions with practitioners in the field were useful in selecting the variables for the study. The different variables studied were work profile of knowledge professionals, organizational and knowledge practices. Knowledge transfer modes to determine the influence of transfer process on well-being and valued behavior. We attempted to understand the effect of different practices and transfer modes on valued behavior and well-being of knowledge professionals. To achieve the objectives, survey methodology was executed for the main study. Questionnaire developed was a 5 point Likert scale where professionals had to rate with options choosing from strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree nor disagree, agree and strongly agree. This was combined with in-depth interview on a one to one basis, between researcher and professionals without any external disturbance in a secure silent place. The main sample consisting of 439 professionals from five organizations, out of which 2 of them are Government sectors and remaining 3 are private sectors. Sample comprised of knowledge professionals working in IT and R & D sector with a minimum of 2 years of experience and working in the same or similar kind of projects, both male and female professionals with varied qualifications, and age ranging from 19 to 61 years. To validate our objectives of the study different statistical analysis was computed. We first confirmed the reliability of the designed questionnaire by computing cronbach alpha. Factor analysis helped us identify the groupings of the variables. To understand the effect of demographic variables such as age, gender, educational qualification, work experience, type of organization on the work profile on the knowledge professionals, obtained sample was studied on each of these variables by computing ‘t’tests. The differences in the demographical variables was analyzed and reported. This was further analyzed to understand the effect of independent factors on output factors and the effect of mediating factors on output by computing multiple regression. Regression was first done without mediating factors by regressing independent factors on output and later by adding mediating factors to verify the mediating effect of the different factors. The obtained regression value results are analyzed for firstly validating if the model can be accepted by verifying the significance of F value, next by checking the goodness of fit of the model by looking at the R square value and finally we verified the items which had an impact on the output factors by looking at their Beta coefficient value. Significant beta coefficient values were accepted and discussed further. We further diagrammatically depicted the connections of the independent factors on the output factors from the obtained findings. The findings of this chapter show that mediating factors have improved the R square value showing that mediating factors increases the explanatory power. It can be observed that all the hypotheses are proved. To further understand the different knowledge intensive work of knowledge professionals, input factors, mediating factors and output factors were regressed for each group separately and presented in next chapter. Knowledge professionals were grouped based on the knowledge intensive jobs being performed by them. It was observed that 5 unique groups were being formed and we aimed at systematically understanding the differences in the groups. Discussion was done group wise. All the groups were analyzed and understood based on their age, educational qualification, work experience, gender, type of job etc. Further multiple regression was computed on each of the group separately. Here again multiple regression was done without mediating variable in the first step and in the next step to verify the effect of mediating factors they were included in the analysis. Regression model was checked for significance level through F value, goodness of fit was verified by obtained R square and later significant beta values were analyzed and diagrammatically represented. From the findings it can be observed that each group is exclusive and tends to have significant differences between the groups based on the knowledge intensive jobs being performed by them. The findings can be summarized as there are differences between the groups with regard to the extent to which the different input, mediating factors affect the output factors. There exist differences in the way the factors influence each group, indicating the uniqueness of each group. It can be concluded that this study provides a profound understanding about the different groups of knowledge professionals based on the knowledge intensive job being performed by them. This finding can be used by other organizations while recruiting, training, and charting out clear career growth for professionals, and for job analysis. This study has attempted to understand well-being of knowledge professionals and how it tends to affect and vary based on the different knowledge professional groups. This framework of studying knowledge professionals and their well-being is a unique contribution to the existing literature and for organizational as well as managerial practices. An attempt has been made to understand the different knowledge transfer practices and its impact as value add for the organization. This research has contributed theoretically and it is methodologically unique by adapting a multi construct model, the different practices being studied will help in framing effective knowledge management practices in organizations.
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