The role of employees’ empowerment as an intermediary variable between knowledge management and information systems on employees’ performance

Date14 May 2018
Publication Date14 May 2018
AuthorShadi Habis Abualoush,Abdallah Mishael Obeidat,Ali Tarhini,Ra’ed Masa’deh,Ali Al-Badi
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Knowledge management,Knowledge management systems
The role of employees
empowerment as an intermediary
variable between knowledge
management and information
systems on employeesperformance
Shadi Habis Abualoush
Department of Management Information Systems, Irbid National University,
Irbid, Jordan
Abdallah Mishael Obeidat
Department of Management Information Systems, Jadara University,
Irbid, Jordan
Ali Tarhini
Department of Information Systems, Sultan Qaboos University,
Muscat, Oman
Raed Masadeh
Department of Management Information Systems, University of Jordan,
Anman, Jordan, and
Ali Al-Badi
Department of Information Systems, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the interrelationships among knowledge
management (KM), information systems (IS) and employeesempowerment (EE) on employees
performance (EP).
Design/methodology/approach Accordingly, a structural model is developed that delineates the
interactionsamong these constructs and explores the mediating effect of EE on the relationship between KM,
IS and EP. A questionnaire-basedsurvey was designed to test the aforementioned model based on dataset of
287 employeespharmaceutical industries in Jordan. The model and posited hypotheses were tested using
structuralequation modeling analysis.
Findings The results indicated that KM and IS positivelyand signicantly affect EE, in which the latter
impact EP as well. However, neither KM nor IS proved to be positively related to EP. Additionally, EE
positively and signicantlymediated the relationship between KM and EP, besidesthe relationship between
IS and EP.
Originality/value This is one of the few studies which investigatethe interrelationships among KM, IS
and EE on EP, and the rst to test the model on companiesin the pharmaceutical industries in Jordan.
Keywords Information systems, Knowledge management, Organisational performance,
Employee empowerment
Paper type Research paper
Role of
Received24 August 2017
Accepted17 December 2017
VINEJournal of Information and
KnowledgeManagement Systems
Vol.48 No. 2, 2018
pp. 217-237
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/VJIKMS-08-2017-0050
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
1. Introduction
The changes in circumstances of the organizations these days, either political, cultural,
social or economical, are the result of many sequential changes because of the knowledge
explosion and information and communication revolution (Hsu and Sabherwal, 2012;
Kasasbeh, 2015), the increasedinternal and external competition resulted in more challenges
and difculties for the organizations to keep up with these changes and adopting to them
(Sweis et al., 2011;Krylova et al.,2016), all these events forced the organizations to respond
to the changes creatively and to nd modern and innovative ways and then they became
obliged to make basic changes in their management styles; through nding creative
individuals and provide the required and suitabletools that help creating new methods and
modern work techniques and quick administrative solutions to face these challenges
(Mughraj, 2015). The creative individual is considered as a fortune better than the
materialistic fortune,and even the investment in developing the human element is one of the
most successful investments; in addition to that, the human resource is one of the most
important factors that help in the sustainability of the organizations by achieving the
sustainable competitive advantage as a result of his creative abilities, skills and tacit or
explicit knowledge (Hawajrh and Al-Mahasneh, 2015;Inkinen, 2016). Thus, the trend of the
organizations toward innovation should not be restricted to introducing the modern tools
and techniques, but the management should be convinced that the employees can innovate
and create solutions for the problemsthey face (Mughraj, 2015). Information systems (IS) are
considered as a main part of the success of themodern organizations in light of competition
and quick change and uncertainty, that gave the IS a very vital role in the success and
efciency of any organization and in the completion of the administrative tasks efciently
and effectively (OBrien and Marakas, 2011); it also helps in cooperation and coordination
between the members of the organizationand between different organizations; this requires
efcient design and management of these systems (Giampaoli Gil, 2009). Knowledge
management (KM) is considered as the most important competitive advantage that the
organizations are seeking to acquire and use; this resource is very important for the
organizations in light of the huge developmentin communication and information; thus, KM
became an important power for the successof business; in addition, such knowledge should
be integrated in the strategies of the organization to respond to the environmental changes
(Ababneh and Hatamleh,2013;Giampaoli et al., 2017).
While human interest, management, direction and motivation have become more
important than other areas related to money, technology and organizational structures
(Khansharifan et al.,2015), that is why from the human-related subjects emerged the
employeesempowerment (EE), as a modern management concept and one of the most
promising (Khansharifan et al., 2015). EE means giving the employees the powers and
responsibilities, encouraging them to participate in decision-making and enriching them
with the condence and freedom to performin their own way without direct involvement of
the management; mainly, it strengthens the relationship between the management and the
employees, helps encourage the employees and enhance them to participate in decision-
making and breaks the ice between the management and the employees, that makes the
attention paid to empowerment a basic element in the success of the organizations
(Awamleh, 2013). The purposeof this research is to investigate the interrelationships among
KM, IS, and EE on employeesperformance (EP). The study also aims at studying the
impact of IS and KM on the EP by using EE as a mediating variable.
The rest of this paper is organized as follows. It begins with the relevant literature and
previous studies aboutKM processes, IS (efciency and effectiveness), EE and EP, as well as
other previous studies that link information management and IS with EE, and link KM and

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