2 Literature Review

In this chapter, some related concepts in human resource management are defined. The relevant theories and research on the employee’s motivation for knowledge sharing and employee creativity are more detailed.

  • 2.1 Literature Review on the employee’s motivation for knowledge sharing
  • 2.2 Literature Review on employee creativity
  • 2.3 Literature Review on the Two-Factor Theory
  • 2.4 Literature Review on the componential model of employee creativity
  • 2.5 Research Review on the methodology of this study
  • 2.5.1 Quantitative Research Methodology
  • 2.5.2 Qualitative Research Methodology
  • 2.5.3 Mixed Research Methodology
  • 2.6 Conceptual Framework

2.1 Literature review on the employee’s motivation for knowledge sharing

2.1.1 Introduction

Knowledge sharing is vital for gaining a competitive advantage as a unique, valuable, and critical resource15. Since the essential measure to improve the effectiveness of knowledge sharing lies in the design of effective knowledge-sharing incentives, motivation is the basis for the design of incentives. Therefore, knowledge-sharing motivation has attracted widespread academic interest increasingly. The current study findings lack systematicity, which is not conducive to grasping knowledge-sharing motivation issues at a holistic level and restricts the ability of organizations to manage employees’ knowledge-sharing behavior. This study attempts to clarify the theoretical framework of knowledge-sharing motivation by comprehensively reviewing the literature of scholars and abroad to provide helpful guidance and inspiration for subsequent studies.

Academic research on knowledge sharing motivation mainly covers three aspects: first, the general role of knowledge sharing motivation, which mainly discusses the significance of motivation on the occurrence and development of knowledge sharing at the overall level; second, the components and theoretical basis of knowledge sharing motivation, which mainly discusses what the specific motivations of individuals to engage in knowledge sharing behavior, the theoretical basis behind each motivational factor, and the role relationship between various motivational factors and complex knowledge sharing behavior are; and third, the influencing factors of knowledge sharing motivation, which mainly discusses what factors influence individuals’ knowledge sharing motivation and what kind of influence they have. A few native scholars have explored the knowledge-sharing motivation of native employees, but these studies lack integration with local cultural elements. Therefore, expanding the theoretical system of knowledge-sharing motivation in native culture is necessary.

2.1.2 The employee’s motivation for knowledge sharing

Knowledge sharing (K.S.) is a core element of knowledge management and plays a significant role in improving technological innovation and enhancing enterprises’ core competitive capabilities16.

Davenport17 considered knowledge sharing as knowledge dissemination and reception. The sharer and the receiver are vital players in the process. Knowledge sharing provides information and expertise to assist or work together to solve problems,18 propose new ideas, and implement policies or procedures19. Two or more participants communicate knowledge flows during the conversion processes involving knowledge acquisition and sharing20. Hansen21considers knowledge sharing as a way of acquiring and providing information, experience, learning about products and technologies, etc. Knowledge sharing influences other knowledge activities such as knowledge integration. McAdam22 considered knowledge sharing as an activity in which individuals, groups, or organizations exchange knowledge.

Xie Xuemei23 defined knowledge sharing as individuals’ willingness to pass on their learnings and experience to others. It can also improve each other’s knowledge capabilities and demonstration of teamwork through knowledge sharing. Knowledge sharing is a process in which knowledge can be exchanged and moved among different subjects. It has a strong positive impact on enhancing organizational competitiveness and performance,24 and companies can rely on knowledge sharing to build a competitive advantage25. Therefore, knowledge sharing is an intangible asset that maintains, enhances, and creates a competitive advantage for enterprises. Knowledge sharing allows subsequent knowledge integration, creation, and even intellectual capital, the core competitive resource for enterprise development. Knowledge sharing consists of an activity in which participants exchange explicit and tacit knowledge[Jao‐Hong Cheng26]27. By transforming personal knowledge into group knowledge through sharing, the participants can benefit from it, and the enterprise organization can also gain valuable knowledge from it28.

Cao Keyan29 also defined knowledge sharing as an individual or organization transferring expertise to others. This knowledge contains both implicit and explicit knowledge connotations. The knowledge is reproduced in an existing or new form by sharing it.

In addition to being an exchange activity in which individual knowledge is transformed into group knowledge, knowledge sharing can also be defined as a culture of social interaction that involves exchanging employee knowledge, experience, and skills through an entire department or organization.30 Knowledge sharing occurs when individuals are willing to learn actively and help others acquire new knowledge and competencies31.32 Knowledge-sharing behavior can also be considered a form of organizational citizenship behavior, which emerges from individual spontaneous decisions and is therefore influenced by individual states or characteristics33.34 An open and caring organizational climate encourages and enhances interaction among corporate members, which leads to collaborative learning and knowledge exchange35. Knowledge sharing is members’ contribution to the organization’s knowledge,36 which can expand the organization’s knowledge base. Companies that can strategically collect, analyze, integrate, and share knowledge are more likely to achieve creativity37.

Tsai38 argued that knowledge sharing is a prerequisite for knowledge creation. Although knowledge sharing helps create value, it only makes value when individuals recognize, absorb, transform, and effectively apply it39. Knowledge sharing is a good way for enterprises and individuals to enhance their ability to acquire knowledge. It can rapidly improve the enterprises’ creative capability and competitiveness40.

  • Table 2.1: Definition of the employee motivation for knowledge sharing
readxl::read_excel("./files/Table2-1.xlsx") %>%
  gt::gt(caption = "Definition of the employee motivation for knowledge sharing") %>% 
    Researchers ~ px(200)
Table 2.1: Definition of the employee motivation for knowledge sharing
Researchers Definition
Senge (1997) Knowledge sharing is a dissemination process, but it also helps the recipient understand its content better and thus develop the ability to generate new knowledge.
Darr (2000) Knowledge sharing, also known as knowledge transfer, is a process by which knowledge recipients acquire knowledge and learning experiences from other knowledge transmitters
Hansen (2002) Knowledge sharing is acquiring and providing information and experience. (Hansen, 2002)
Wen Peng (2012) A process in which knowledge can be exchanged and moved between different subjects has a strong positive impact on enhancing the competitiveness and financial performance of the organization. (Wen, 2012)
Song Xifeng (2013) Knowledge sharing means exchanging and discussing knowledge between internal employees or external parties through different channels or methods.
Cao Keyan (2015) Knowledge sharing transfers knowledge, which allows knowledge to be reproduced in an existing form. (Cao, 2015)
Li (2017) Knowledge sharing is the process of individuals exchanging knowledge and creating new knowledge, including knowledge dissemination and collection. (Li X. , 2017)
Ortiz (2017) Knowledge sharing is when individuals voluntarily share their expertise or experience with others to help them learn new knowledge. (Ortiz, 2017)
Akram (2019) Knowledge sharing is a multi-directional process in which the source and flow of knowledge involve the behavior of two individuals: the knowledge provider and the knowledge absorber. (Akram, 2019)
Imamoglu (2019) Knowledge sharing is a two-way process where both parties can increase their knowledge, capabilities, and experience. In addition, knowledge sharing can improve employee relationships and make knowledge valuable within the organization, expanding the organization's competitive advantage. (Imamoglu, 2019)

Knowledge sharing means how knowledge sharers pass on their own experience, skills, or knowledge to others. Both parties benefit from the process of knowledge flow. It is a kind of organizational culture that enhances employee creativity and thus helps enterprises improve their competitiveness.

Knowledge sharing promotes knowledge renewal and employee creativity, enhances corporate competitiveness, and increases corporate performance. However, the value of personal knowledge is related to their status and benefits. Therefore, the motivation for knowledge sharing is influenced by one’s situation and benefits.

Zhang Xiaodong41 pointed out that other colleagues influence motivation for knowledge sharing. Based on planned theory, Wang Zhining42 constructed a study on the motivation for knowledge-sharing behavior in high-tech enterprises and concluded that subjective norms and perceived behavior influence the motivation for knowledge sharing. In other words, whether one is willing to share knowledge is mainly influenced by the individual’s evaluation of the results after sharing knowledge and others’ expectations. In addition, in terms of interpersonal relationships, Tang Yuhong43 stated that organizational members who perceive differences with others (suffer from rejection) would negatively affect knowledge-sharing behavior.

In the section on personal motivation, it was shown that members of business organizations who are strongly intrinsically motivated are more able to draw on experience and knowledge to solve obstacles encountered and are more able to complete challenging and complex work projects44. Zhang Zhengang45indicated that proactive individuals could positively impact employee creativity due to more positive intrinsic motivation. In addition, a proactive personality can demonstrate employee creativity through employee motivation for knowledge sharing.

Nowadays, many business organizations gradually pay attention to knowledge management, so they actively hold activities such as knowledge sharing and exchange to promote new knowledge to help improve corporate performance or management decisions. Therefore, the willingness of organizational members to share knowledge also correlates with the leadership style and organizational climate adopted by leaders. A study by Li Rui46pointed out that self-sacrificing leadership affects employee knowledge sharing.

Zhang Yajun47pointed out that authoritarian leadership significantly negatively affects implicit knowledge sharing, while empowered leadership positively impacts implicit knowledge sharing. In other words, the autocratic leadership style is not conducive to knowledge sharing, while proper empowerment gives employees room for autonomy to help employees share knowledge.

Liang Qi48 pointed out that inclusive leadership influences employee knowledge sharing and can indirectly influence employee creativity through employee knowledge sharing behavior. Wang Wenping49 explored that knowledge sharing in different organizations has different effects. In addition, they found that different degrees of knowledge sharing affect knowledge sharing behavior and creative resource investment. A study by Liu Mingxia50 stated that an authentic leadership style could promote employees’ moral identity and knowledge-sharing behavior.

Some scholars have explored the association of organizational climate with knowledge sharing; for example, Lu Lin51 stated that organizational members who do not value team harmony, deny harmony, and disregard harmony will hinder knowledge sharing. It is also detrimental to the knowledge sharing of organizational members if it only indicates harmony and substantial contradiction. In addition, social capital can unite group consciousness and enhance the participation and activity of employees within an enterprise group, thus promoting knowledge sharing, mobility, and stimulating innovative ideas52. The same conclusion was made by Yuan Pengwei,53 who summarised that team cohesion in enterprise organizations helps knowledge sharing. Many studies have shown that knowledge sharing can promote creative capability and performance5455 56.

In 2016, Razak57 argued that knowledge sharing increased enterprise organizations’ information bases and enabled firms to acquire internal and external knowledge, increasing creativity strategically. Huang Chen58 showed that knowledge sharing could reduce production costs effectively, speed up project completion, improve decision-making and coordination, and enhance creativity59.The study by Chen Jin60 pointed out that creativity significantly impacts enterprises’ creative performance through knowledge-sharing mechanisms. Zhang Jie61pointed out that interactive information provision online participation through knowledge sharing can influence novelty and contribute to new product development performance.

Yu Mi62 investigated the relationship between individual and collectivist tendencies and the motivation for knowledge sharing, using knowledge activity as a moderator. The result of the study confirmed that both individual and collectivist tendencies have a positive and significant effect on the motivation for knowledge sharing. Knowledge activation plays a moderate role between individual and collective in the perspective of the motivation for knowledge sharing. Liu Lili63 explored whether the power distance and collectivism among employees impact the factors of knowledge sharing and employee creativity in information technology service companies. The study results showed that knowledge sharing impact on creative behavior increases when employees’ collectivism increases and the impact of knowledge sharing on creative behavior decreases when power distance increases.

The existing literature on knowledge sharing is mainly antecedent factor research, primarily researching the motivation source of employees’ knowledge sharing, starting from employees’ characteristics and the resources provided by the enterprise. The research on the outcome variables is mainly about the performance after the enterprise obtains the knowledge. It guides the enterprise’s technology development or market development. Still, there are a few studies on the influence path on the employee motivation for knowledge sharing in high-tech enterprises. Since it is a behavioral study, there are many disagreements on the connotation of knowledge sharing. With the psychological motivation of sharing knowledge, whether it can promote employee creativity and how to affect employee creativity, the influence paths should be excavated more in the follow-up and included in the study scope.

2.2 Literature review on employee creativity

2.2.1 Introduction

Creativity has become critical for organizations to survive and maintain their competitive advantage64. One of the most significant challenges businesses face is continuously developing new technologies and products to adapt to changes in their external environment as well as maintaining and consolidating their competitive positions in an increasingly competitive market. Organizational creativity is the implementation of new ideas at the individual, group, or organizational level triggered by employee creativity65.It can be seen that employee creativity is a prerequisite for organizational creativity, which depends not only on the investment of material factors such as capital and technology but also on employees’ creativity.

In existing studies, scholars have identified some individual factors that influence employees’ creativity, such as internal motivation,66 creative personality,67 openness,68 creativity self-efficacy,69 individual goal orientation,70 emotions71 72, etc. In addition, scholars have noted that individual employee creativity is influenced by certain situational factors, including job characteristics73 and team composition74. Leadership style,75 leadership colleague support,76 organizational or team climate,77 compensation policies,78 etc. However, although the enhancement of employee creativity can be achieved through contextual factors, relatively few relevant studies explore the impact of HRM practices on employee creativity. Until recently, several scholars have suggested that HRM systems, including a range of interdependent HRM practices, play an essential role in enhancing employee creativity79.

According to current research, employee creativity refers to employees’ original and possibly valuable ideas related to new products or services, manufacturing methods, and management procedures.80 This definition emphasizes two essential criteria for examining employee creativity: novelty and usefulness. By defining creativity in terms of results, the abstract “creativity” is transformed into an assessment and consideration of creative results, which is optional and facilitates the development of relevant research. This study summarizes the research results related to employee creativity to reference future research.

2.2.2 Employee creativity

The economist Schumpeter81 was the first to propose the term creativity, based on the concept of Entrepreneurship, which he considered a creative activity or behavior. Later, Drucker,82 a great management scholar, considered entrepreneurship as a process of creativity that provides new goods or services. Through this process, entrepreneurs can enhance their ability to create new wealth, so Mr. Drucker defined creativity as: “the new behavior that gives entrepreneurs The new act of creating wealth from resources, an act that turns resources into real wealth-creating resources.” Since creativity is characterized by a discontinuity,83 subsequent scholars consider creativity a multi-stage process,84 and each stage represents a different activity and behavior. Hence, they define creative behavior with process stage theory according to the meaning of creativity8586 87.

Many scholars have presented numerous views on the definition of innovative employee behavior. Among them, Amabile’s88 and Scott’s89 explanations are mainly classical, which suggest that creative employee behavior can be explained from both process and outcome perspectives, i.e., it refers to the process of performing work and the results of the ideas and specific behaviors that employees produce and possess90. West91 considered creative employee behavior as the intentional application and introduction of new ideas, products, processes, and procedures by individuals in their work roles, units, or organizations. Janssen92 proposed the definition of employee innovative work behavior (IWC): “the intentional creation, introduction, and application of new ideas by individuals in their work roles, or in the workgroups to which they belong, to improve performance for the benefit of the organization. Other scholars regard employee creative behavior as individual behavior. Corporate employees aim to propose new ideas for the organization and realize the ideas93.94 According to Gu Yuandong,95 creative employee behavior refers to employees with creative ideas or new solutions to problems. It arises in the work process and actively puts these ideas into concrete work practice, including the performance of creative behavior at the stage of generating innovative ideas and putting them into practice.

  • Table 2.2: Definition of the employee creativity
readxl::read_excel("./files/Table2-2.xlsx") %>%
  gt::gt(caption = "Definition of the employee creativity") %>% 
   Researchers ~ px(200) 
Table 2.2: Definition of the employee creativity
Researchers Definition
Amabile (1988) Employees build on innovative ideas and implement ideas for success within the organization. (Amabile, The social psychology of creativity: A componential conceptualization, 1988)
Scott (1994) Creating a team alliance to get the support of others, and finally realizing the idea, is a process that occurs when an individual has a problem. (Scott, 1994)
West (1990) Individuals intentionally apply and introduce new ideas, products, processes, and procedures into their work roles, units, or organizations. (West, 1990)
Janssen (2000) The intentional creation, introduction, and application of new ideas to benefit the organization's operations by individuals in their job roles at work or in the workgroups to which they belong improve performance. (Janssen, Job demands, perceptions of effort-reward fairness and innovative work behaviour, 2000)
Janssen (2003) Consider innovative behavior as new ideas generated through individual work roles or interactions among organizational members, and apply this idea within the organization. (Janssen, Innovative behaviour and job involvement at the price of conflict and less satisfactory relations with co-workers, 2003)
Jong (2007) Consider innovative behavior as the behavior of organizational members in response to new and valuable ideas, processes, products, procedures, etc., applied in their work roles or within the organization. (Jong, 2007)
Gu Yuandong (2011) Creative employee behavior refers to employees with innovative ideas or new solutions to problems. It arises in the work process and actively puts these ideas into concrete work practice, including the performance of creative behavior at the stage of generating innovative ideas and putting them into practice. (Gu, 2011)
Kang (2015) Consider creativity as an individual activity aimed at realizing new ideas in the organization, implementing them, and putting them into practice.

As we can learn from the stage theory and definition, employee creative behavior refers to the ideas generated when encountering problems that must be solved. To solve the problems, individuals must put forward their initial views on the problems and then improve and revise the initial views through discussion and brainstorming. Then, with other people’s support, the ideas can be realized and promoted to benefit the organization. From the organization’s perspective, to solve the problems, the ideas about personal or organization should effectively contribute to its operations and enhance its competitiveness. Hence, employees’ innovative behavior impacts the organization’s interests.

This study analyzes and summarizes the literature in the past and finds that the factors that affect employees’ creative behavior include organizational factors, leaders’ style factors, and factors of employees themselves. Creative behavior is not only for personal behavior but also for the organization. The result of the interaction between the leader and the individual, and if the exchange is good, the creative behavior should have a good impact.

From a leadership perspective, employee creative behavior is influenced by organizational leadership style. Li Yue’s study,96 aimed at employees in the science and technology industry, using contradictory leadership as a regulatory variable, discussed the influence of innovative ambidextrous behavior on employee psychological detachment. It was found that contradictory leadership style has a regulatory effect on employee psychological detachment in innovative ambidextrous behavior.

From the perspective of shared empowerment leadership, Su Yi97 studied whether there is an impact on employee creative behavior. The study concluded that shared empowerment leadership has a significant positive impact on employee creative behavior. Yuan Pengwei98 explored the impact of shared leadership on employees’ creative behavior and found that shared leaders significantly positively impacted employees’ creative behavior. Li Yongzhan99 explored the impact mechanism of high-tech employees’ transformational leadership on employee creative behavior and found that transformational leadership has a significant positive impact on employee creative behavior.

From the organization’s perspective, the result of creative behavior is influenced by the organization’s atmosphere. Yan Liang100 used organizational support as a mediating variable to explore the influence of creative organizational climate on creative behavior. It found that organizational support mediates between creative organizational climate and creative behavior. Lian Xin101 summarized the previous research results and further studied whether the creative organizational climate has a specific mechanism of action on employees’ innovative behavior. Learning and training, and then affecting creative behavior.

From the perspective of individuals, it is mainly personal psychological traits that influence the results of creative behaviors. Li Yue102 explored the impact of ambidextrous creative behavior on employees’ psychological detachment and found that ambidextrous creative behavior had a negative and significant impact on employees’ psychological detachment. Su Yi103 found that insider identity perception significantly positively impacts employees’ creative behavior. Yuan Pengwei104 explored the influence of knowledge sharing on employee creative behavior. They found that knowledge sharing has a significant positive impact on employee creative behavior. Li Yongzhan105 researched whether personal-psychological empowerment factors influence employee creative behavior in high-tech enterprises. The existing theory clarifies that psychological empowerment variables significantly positively impact employee creative behavior.

Based on the above, the research on employee creative behavior discusses its connotation and classifies and divides it into three categories (stage, degree, and organizational requirements). In discussing factors affecting employees’ innovative behavior, the influencing factors (pre-variables) are summarized. Leadership, organizations, and individuals all significantly impact and relevance on creative behavior. Furthermore, generalize the effect findings (outcome variables) and their impact on the firm and creative performance. Empirical and theoretical research and case and experimental research are available as research methodologies. Nowadays, this topic focuses on empirical research on the variables that affect the outcome. The previous research has made significant progress and retained a wealth of research results, but there are still some deficiencies. To further explore the influence mechanism of employee creative behavior, this study will start with researching the influence mechanism of employee creativity and further enrich the research results of employee creative behavior.

2.3 Literature Review on the Two-Factor Theory

2.3.1 Introduction

The Two Factors Theory, is also called hygiene-motivational factors, proposed by Herzberg, the famous American scholar, in the middle of the 20th century through field research.

Herzberg used the Critical Incident Method to conduct interviews with 200 engineers and accountants in nine companies. Through analysis, it was found that the behavioral factors that affect employees’ enthusiasm are divided into two categories, namely “motivational factors” and “hygiene factors”106.

2.3.2 The Two-Factor Theory

Herzberg broke through people’s traditional cognition of satisfaction and dissatisfaction and subdivided personal satisfaction into two dimensions: satisfaction and not satisfaction, dissatisfaction and not dissatisfaction. He creatively established two concepts, not dissatisfaction and not satisfaction, different from traditional cognition, and explained the link between the conceptions in detail in his follow-up research107. The two-factor theory explains that motivational factors incentivize employees, positively impact employees, bring satisfaction, and not produce dissatisfaction. In contrast, hygiene factors have no incentive effect on employees, only eliminate employees’ dissatisfaction. that is to say, satisfaction will occur; motivational factors determine satisfaction and non-satisfaction, and hygiene factors determine dissatisfaction and non-dissatisfaction.

The “hygiene factors” which can lead to job dissatisfaction are related to employees’ work relationships and environment. If employees’ work relationships and work environment cannot meet employees’ minimum level acceptable, they will be dissatisfied with the job. Meanwhile, hygiene factors can reduce the employees’ job dissatisfaction. Still, if employees’ work relationships and work environment are improved, it will not stimulate employees’ enthusiasm to work to achieve the role of motivation. The “motivational factor” is the reason for employee satisfaction, which comes from the work itself and its content. It can significantly stimulate employees’ enthusiasm for work, drive employees’ work enthusiasm, and increase but not reduce satisfaction.

  • Table 2.3: Contents of the Two-Factor Theory
readxl::read_excel("./files/Table2-3.xlsx") %>%
  gt::gt(caption = "Contents of the Two-Factor Theory") %>%
    everything() ~ px(300)
Table 2.3: Contents of the Two-Factor Theory
The motivational factors The hygiene factors
make people satisfied Do not cause dissatisfaction
make people more motivated Can protect people's enthusiasm
Improve work efficiency Maintaining the status quo will not increase productivity

The work, responsibilities, and the time length of promotion are typical motivational factors; simultaneously, achievement and recognition factors are also classified as this category. On the contrary, hygiene factors are enterprise regulations and management, relationships with supervisors, working conditions, and technical rules. Among them, the salary factor is more special. Herzberg believes that salary is closely related to individual work performance and progress and the enterprise regulations, management, and working conditions. But focusing on equity, salary is attributed to hygiene factors.

Herzberg believes that the enterprise regulations, management, supervisor mechanisms, working conditions, and interpersonal relationships cannot directly improve employees’ health. These factors are similar to health care functions and can effectively prevent diseases and benefit physical and mental health. He classifies these factors that cannot motivate employees but can effectively reduce employee dissatisfaction as “hygiene factors”. The achievements, recognition, and responsibilities conferred in one’s work can fully mobilize employees’ enthusiasm for work and improve employee satisfaction. These factors are called “motivational factors.” Motivational factors can meet the needs of employees’ creativity. Hygiene factors can meet the needs of employee treatment. Jobs that are monotonous, repetitive, and trivial, which cannot give employees a sense of responsibility and achievement, should be placed on increasing the protection of hygiene factors. Hygiene factors and motivational factors should work together to motivate employees and improve corporate performance. Compared with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory and Achievement Motivation Theory, Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory focuses on the factors that affect the enthusiasm and performance of employees. Still, it also lacks theoretical support and is also highly controversial. The theory emphasizes the positive factors that can improve employee satisfaction and mentions how to prevent employees from being dissatisfied. As discussed above, motivational factors can improve employee satisfaction, while hygiene factors can only reduce employee dissatisfaction, not improve satisfaction.

To summarize, even if all requirements are addressed, it may not be enough to increase employee enthusiasm; only the “motivational factor” may do so. Second, if the “hygiene factor” is absent in the organization, it will result in deep dissatisfaction; if it is there, it will not motivate work enthusiasm. Third, one’s work generates the “motivational factor”.

In general, motivational factors are related to the job content, and hygiene factors are related to the work environment. Herzberg points out that there may be several overlaps between motivational and hygiene factors. For example, a motivational factor can positively affect people’s appreciation. Still, when people are not appreciated, negative effects appear as hygiene factors. Another example is that salary is a hygiene factor, while sometimes, it can make employees feel satisfied as a motivational factor. Therefore, Herzberg’s research believes that hygiene factors are the foundation and motivational factors guarantee. Enterprises managers must use the comprehensive advantages of the two factors in specific motivational behaviors.

2.4 Literature Review on the componential model of employee creativity

2.4.1 Introduction

Academic research on creativity has a long history. It isn’t easy to distinguish between creativity and innovation. These two ideas are both similar and dissimilar. Individual and organizational creativity are two types of creativity. In this study, we want to examine creativity at the individual level. There are many theoretical models of creativity. One of them, which Amabile first proposed in 1988, the componential model of employee creativity, explained that creativity is affected by individual internal and external environmental component108.

2.4.2 The componential model of employee creativity

The Componential Model of Creativity by Amabilel109 is the most meaningful and fundamental theoretical model for research on creativity and consists of three main key components. Domain-related skills, which refer to knowledge and experience in a given professional domain, are the first and most significant component. The second component is creativity-related skills, which comprise appropriate techniques, creative activity experience, and creativity-related skill training. The third component is task motivation, separated into intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and refers to a person’s motivation to do a creative activity. Among these three, Amabilel considers intrinsic motivation to be the most important because it is the most potent driver of the entire creative activity and is what motivates the learning and accumulation of expertise skills.

In 1996, Amabile modified the creativity component theory by replacing creativity-related skills with creativity-relevant processes. The three components of creativity could become domain-related skills, creativity-related processes, and work motivation.

Furthermore, in 1998, Amabile then changed domain-related skills to expertise and changed creativity-related skills to creative-thinking skills. The reason is that people’s knowledge, skills, and capabilities of domain-related skills can be summarized in expertise. Meanwhile, creativity-related skills contain novelty-seeking skills and problem-solving skills, which means the tendency to adopt new perspectives on problems and generate new ideas. Creativity-related skills include the propensity to adopt new perspectives on problems, generate novel and valuable ideas or creative skills, see the same things differently and solve problems, which creative thinking skills can summarize. Therefore, the final three-component model of Amabile’s creativity refers to the three components of Expertise, Creative-thinking skills, and Work Motivation. The greater the intersection of the three components, the higher the individual’s creativity110.

  • Figure 2.1: The development of the componential model of creativity
The development of the componential model of creativity

Figure 2.1: The development of the componential model of creativity

Expertise is an individual’s knowledge and specific talents in a relevant field. It includes both fundamental knowledge and abilities and domain-specific knowledge and skills. Some studies have shown no significant correlation between intelligence and individual creativity, and in actual cases, high education does not necessarily mean high creativity. Still, some studies have shown that employees with high creativity have a deep professional background and specific professional skills, which indicates that background knowledge skills are necessary for creativity. And background knowledge skills are obtained by relying on innate cognition or formal or informal education.

The core creative elements, also called creativity-thinking skills, include individual creativity-related abilities, cognitive styles, and personality traits. Core creative elements, also known as creative thinking skills, depend primarily on experience, training, and personality traits. As a personality trait, core self-evaluation intersects with the Big Five personality. The Big Five personality dimensions positively relate to individual creativity111. It can be speculated that core self-evaluation is also a core creative factor.

Intrinsic motivation means an individual solves a problem or engages in a task because the situation or task is satisfying, valuable, or meaningful compared to extrinsic motivation such as rewards, competition, and demands. Endogenous motivation has a “multiplier effect” on employee creativity. If they have different endogenous motivations, individuals with the same two elements of creativity will show different levels of creativity. Only when employees’ endogenous motivation increases will they likely organize and use their professional skills and creative abilities. Only then will they be able to perform more creative behaviors112.

As early as 1982, Amabile proposed the two-pronged hypothesis of internal motivation for creativity. Later she recognized that the influence of external motivation on creativity is differentiated, so in 1993 she proposed two types of external motivational effects, additive external motivators and non-additive external motivators. Later, she analyzed the existence of internal and external motivation in detail and proposed the synergic motivational theory, which suggests that when the existence of external motivation can provide more sources of stimuli to make individuals engage in work. It will have a synergistic relationship with internal motivation and jointly enhance creativity.

In 1996, she revised her component model to include a “social environment” component, emphasizing that a supportive social environment directly influences intrinsic and synergistic extrinsic motivation. In turn, it affects the creative process. The main contributions of the theory are two facts: the theory systematically formulates several hypotheses necessary to study the influence of social factors on creativity. And second, it serves as a model that can be used to analyze previous creativity research and facilitate the construction of applied psychology of creativity.

Amabile is still active in the creativity research field, and she has continued her theoretical and practical research, constantly revising and improving her creativity theory. The academic community highly regards her contributions to the field of creativity. She is considered to have initiated the current psychological research on the social environment of creativity and the relationship between multiculturalism and creativity, which has made the object and method of creative psychology more complex and more affluent.

2.5 Research Review on the methodology of this study

Since the 1980s, many studies on employee creativity have appeared in the academic field. These studies have investigated employee creativity’s antecedents and influence mechanisms at various levels, including individual, bipartite, team, and organizational. The mainstream research methods include case studies, empirical studies based on primary and secondary data, and experimental studies. Since 1996, when the Chinese government proposed to build an innovative country, how to improve the creativity of organizations, teams, and even employees has become a common concern of the business and academic communities. More than 130 papers have been published in CSSCI journals on creativity research at the level of employee creativity alone in recent years from the literature search before this study. Based on the importance and value of related domestic and international studies, this study summarizes and reviews the current research status and methods in employee knowledge sharing motivation and employee creativity after reviewing the related domestic and international studies.

2.5.1 Quantitative Research Methodology

The relationship between organizational, creative climate, and knowledge sharing has received increasing attention in the research on knowledge sharing. For example, Zarraga113 explored the relationship between team climate and knowledge sharing in a sample of 363 employees in a self-managed team in Spain. A high caring team climate facilitated knowledge sharing among employees. Van den Hooff (114 showed that organizational communication climate significantly affects knowledge contribution and collection in a sample of five Dutch companies. The communication climate of an organization is an essential constituent of its creative climate. Putnam115 defined “communication climate” as “the atmosphere in an organization that is conducive to acceptable communication behavior.” The atmosphere for acceptable communication behavior in an organization”116. The critical factors in communication climate include horizontal information flow,117 openness, vertical information flow, and reliability of the information.118 Communication climate can be divided into positive and negative.119 The so-called positive communication climate is reflected in openness in information exchange, accessibility to colleagues, strong collaborative relationships, and overall knowledge-sharing culture.120 Amason121 argued that organizational knowledge’s generation, distribution, and persistence depend on this positive communication climate.

2.5.2 Qualitative Research Methodology

Existing research shows that knowledge sharing can have a significant impact on the creative capability of organizations as well as organizational performance. Knowledge sharing among individuals forms individual knowledge into the group and organizational knowledge, contributing to organizational learning, thus facilitating organizational creativity. For example, Cohen,122 Ipe,123 and others state that the interaction between individuals with different knowledge promotes organizational creativity that individuals can achieve. Wright124 pointed out that by transferring and integrating knowledge among individuals, new levels of knowledge can be formed, such as group knowledge. Meanwhile, Andrews125 argued that knowledge sharing among individuals contributes to individual and organizational learning, and the ability to learn is the basis for the ability to be creative. Also, knowledge sharing promotes organizational performance, while poor knowledge sharing will deteriorate team and organizational performance126.

Existing studies on knowledge sharing analyzed and stated it as an outcome variable. In other words, more scholars have focused on the influencing factors of knowledge sharing, but not much research has been done on the influencing outcomes. These factors include “hard” factors, such as technology or tools,127 and “soft” factors, such as motivation,128 organizational climate,129 organizational culture,130 and so on. Ren Hao131 summarized the existing knowledge sharing influence factor studies in China and abroad from knowledge sharing content, knowledge sharing process, knowledge sharing role, knowledge sharing motivation, knowledge sharing mode, management integration, and knowledge characteristics, respectively. Bao Gongmin132 summarized the knowledge sharing influencing factors from the perspectives of knowledge characteristics, individual characteristics, organizational characteristics, environmental characteristics, information and communication technology, trust, leadership style, and organizational climate.

2.5.3 Mixed Research Methodology

Moreover, some domestic scholars have conducted empirical studies on the relationship between organizational climate, tacit knowledge, and informal knowledge sharing. For example, Zhang Shuhua133 studied the relationship between organizational climate and organizational tacit knowledge sharing. They found a correlation between different dimensions of organizational climate and the sharing of different factors of tacit knowledge. Different dimensions of organizational climate can predict the degree of sharing of various characteristics of tacit knowledge at a certain level. Still, the sharing mechanism of multiple tacit knowledge factors is inconsistent.

On the other hand, Xie Hefeng134 investigated the relationship between organizational climate and employees’ informal knowledge sharing. They discovered that while equity and identity climates have motivational effects, creative and interpersonal climates significantly influence employees’ informal knowledge sharing. Support climate has both motivational and constraining effects. In the studies mentioned above and the slightly different focus surface on knowledge sharing, the main problem is that researchers have different definitions of organizational climate, which leads to significant differences in the content of organizational climate measurement.

2.6 Conceptual Framework

  • Figure 2.2: Conceptual Framework
Conceptual Framework

Figure 2.2: Conceptual Framework

For companies, employee creativity is the very an important source of innovation. Enhancing employee creativity benefits corporate innovation and helps companies improve their competitiveness in a highly competitive market. From a personal point of view, creativity is something everyone has, not something that only high-tech and professional positions should have. Any enterprise employee can express their creativity if the right environment and conditions exist. In the era of knowledge innovation, if employees do not have creativity, they cannot make continuous creative power to the enterprise and eventually be eliminated from the market. In addition, although creativity is a classic topic in psychology. However, placing employee creativity in organizational management is a research area that deserves attention135. Therefore, more and more psychologists and management practitioners are focusing on issues related to employee creativity.

Bock136 pointed out that people share knowledge due to social exchange rules, and the purpose of individuals actively sharing knowledge with others is to establish a “relationship” with others. That is to say, people often hope to via giving and paying something to receive in return from the recipient, confirming a positive knowledge interaction. It can be reasonably inferred from this. When employees decide on knowledge sharing, they will analyze whether the sharer is trustworthy and whether they can get corresponding rewards in the future, which becomes the basis of knowledge sharing willingness.

In summary, the employee’s motivation for knowledge sharing will likely affect employee creativity. Therefore, this study constructs the following theoretical model with the relationship of the employee’s motivation for knowledge sharing as the independent variable and employee creativity as the dependent variable: employee knowledge sharing motivation affects employee creativity in five dimensions: perception of achievement, collective emotions and responsibilities, construction of social relations, personal interest and rule obedience.