PurposeThis study aims to examine the influence of the three dimensions of travel agents’ manager competencies – ability, motivation and opportunity seeking – on knowledge transfer and travel agents’ performance. In addition, the study investigates how employee’s absorptive capacity moderates the effects of managers’ competencies on knowledge received by the employees and moderates the effects of knowledge received by the employees on travel agents’ performance.Design/methodology/approachA positivist research philosophy was adopted with a quantitative approach, in which quantitative data were gathered based on questionnaires to tackle different stages of the study. To test the hypotheses, a self-administrated face-to-face survey of about 42 questions, launched on November 7, 2016, was used to compile response from top and medium management Category A travel agents operating in Egypt.FindingsBased on a sample of 577 travel agents’ frontline employees, the results showed that the three dimensions of travel agents’ competencies have a positive effect on knowledge received by the employee. Findings further indicated that knowledge received by employee mediates the link between these three competencies and travel agents’ performance. The link between the competencies and knowledge received by the employee was found to be positively moderated by employee absorptive capacity. Moreover, these findings suggested that the relationship between knowledge received and travel agents’ performance is stronger when employees’ absorptive capacity is greater.Research limitations/implicationsThis study is bound by certain limitations that also provide fertile grounds for further research. First, the study examined how an employee’s absorptive capacity moderates the effects of managers’ competencies on knowledge received by the employees and moderates the effects of knowledge received by the employees on travel agents’ performance. However, innovation as a dependent variable can be investigated. Second, one limitation is that the study is restricted to Category A travel agents only in Greater Cairo. Third, examining the antecedents of ability, motivation and opportunity seeking to transfer knowledge is also important.Practical implicationsIt is important for travel agents, owners, managers and employees to acknowledge absorptive capacity as a critical component for organizations to sustain, grow and compete. Travel agents can also take steps to develop their employees’ absorptive capacity. Doing so would further enhance the success of knowledge, employees and travel agents’ performance. Also, travel agents’ top management has to ensure their employees’ absorbing knowledge, identifying and recognizing external knowledge, processing and understanding it, combining it with existing knowledge and applying the new knowledge to commercial ends. Hence, the development of absorptive capacity contributes to a travel agent’s achievement of competitive advantage.Originality/valueThis study contributes to the literature by expanding the extant literature on knowledge transfer and absorptive capacity by investigating the influence of travel agents’ manager competencies – ability, motivation and opportunity seeking – for knowledge transfer in the Egyptian context. In addition, it investigates the direct effects of the three dimensions of travel agents’ manager competencies – ability, motivation and opportunity seeking – for knowledge transfer. Finally, the paper investigates how employee’s absorptive capacity moderates the effects of managers’ competencies on knowledge received by the employees and moderates the effects of knowledge received by the employees on travel agents’ performance
Journal of Knowledge Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 8, 2018
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