An experimental investigation of the individual and joint effects of financial and non-financial incentives on knowledge sharing using enterprise social media

Degan Kettles, Robert St Louis, Paul Steinbart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Many organizations implement enterprise social media (ESM) in an effort to capture and store valuable knowledge that employees possess. Unfortunately, more often than not, employees do not make a large number of knowledge contributions. Using agency theory and contingency theory as foundations, we examine managerial interventions that can improve knowledge contribution rates in ESM. Specifically, we investigate the individual and joint effects of paying people to share knowledge, providing social cues, and having supporting and policing moderators on knowledge sharing. We further examine how two contingency factors—the nature of an employee’s compensation scheme (variable or fixed) for their primary work task and the employee’s belief about the importance of sharing knowledge— affect the relative efficacy of the aforementioned managerial interventions. Although we found evidence that being paid to share knowledge and believing that knowledge sharing is inherently important both increase the amount of knowledge shared, our most important results concern the existence of significant interaction effects. For persons who receive a fixed salary, we found a surprisingly large, positive synergistic effect between being paid to share knowledge and believing that knowledge sharing is important. However, introducing a policing moderator almost completely nullified this synergistic effect. We discuss the implications of these findings for both practice and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number27
Pages (from-to)639-673
Number of pages35
JournalCommunications of the Association for Information Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017



  • Agency theory
  • Controls
  • Crowding effect
  • Enterprise social media
  • Experiments
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Knowledge-management systems
  • Self determination theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems

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