Developing and Validating Field Measurement Scales for Absorptive Capacity and Experienced Community of Practice

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SAGE Publications


Research on knowledge transfer in organizations has been hampered by the lack of tools yielding valid scores for studying critical constructs in concert. The authors developed survey measures of absorptive capacity (the ability to transform new knowledge into usable knowledge) and experienced community of practice (the extent to which a person is engaged with the given practice community) to provide tools appropriate for field research. A holdout sample of 1,971 engineers in a Fortune 100 science/technology company yielded 583 responses. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to assess internal structure, and convergent and discriminant evidence of validity. Path analysis was used to assess criterion-related validity. Results demonstrate that the new measures are internally consistent, are related in meaningful ways to other organizational variables, and provide distinct explanatory power. An additional 231 responses from a second Fortune 100 science/technology company provides cross-validation.