Research Article: 2021 Vol: 24 Issue: 4
Suraporn Onputtha, Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi
Umawasee Sriboonlue, Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi
Orawee Sriboonlue, Kasetsart University
The objective of this research was to investigate the effects of employee creative behavior on knowledge transfer, green service behavior, and environmental performance in logistics service in Thailand. The data were collected from 400 from employees working in logistics service industry located in Bangkok and Metropolitan area by using purposive sampling method to identify the target samples and followed by convenient sampling method to collect data within the purposed areas. Statistics used in the data analysis included structural equation modeling (SEM). The findings indicated that employee creative behavior had a positive effect on green service behavior, and environmental performance in logistics service industry mediated by knowledge transfer among the employees at the statistically significant level as of 0.05. Therefore, the logistics service industry aiming at creating environmental performance should strategically emphasize promoting employees’ learning and knowledge exchanging.
In recent period of knowledge-based economy, the knowledge transfer is very crucial and plays significant role in business operation (Lefter et al., 2011). To begin with knowledge importance, the business environment analysis covering political, economic, technological, and cultural and societal aspects done before business investment requires enormous data combination and knowledge generation in order to be utilized for management decision made by key persons in the organization (Miller, 1988; Van Beveren, 2002). In addition, business monitoring and evaluation also needs information and knowledge to be backed up for business possibility for development and improvement for future changes and uncertainty (Fernandes, 2017). Literately, evidence from previous studies advocates the impact of knowledge transfer on both individual and organizational level such as employee performance (Duan, & Sheng, 2018), organizational competitiveness (Argote, & Ingram, 2000), innovation and reputation (Stanovcic, Pekovic, & Bouziri, 2015), organizational profits and market share growth (Zack, McKeen, & Singh, 2009) as well as environmental sustainability (Evangelista, & Durst, 2015). Due to the fact that the knowledge transfer is important, antecedent factors effectively promoting knowledge transfer, however, are necessary to be considered.
One of many factors affecting knowledge transfer effectiveness includes employee creative behavior (De Clercq, & Pereira, 2020). Theoretically, creative behavior means the behavior of employees in the organization that is willing to learn, exchange, and share their new and creative knowledge with their coworkers and supervisors (Nawaz et al., 2014; Zaitouni, & Ouakouak, 2018; Yasmeen, Batool, & Bajwa, 2020) for their valuable purposes such as improving business operation or better employee performance (Joo, & Bennett III, 2018). Prior studies emphasize on adopting and investigating creative knowledge linking with knowledge transfer in order to improve the organizational performance (Stanovcic, Pekovic & Bouziri, 2015), but there is less investigation testing the relationship among creative behavior, knowledge transfer, green service behavior, and environmental performance in the context of environmental-friendly purposes since the trend of natural resources and environmental carefulness is severely recognized (Trauth, 2012; Stanovcic, Pekovic & Bouziri, 2015; Duan & Sheng, 2018; Chetthamrongchai & Jermsittiparsert, 2020).
With the aim to explore and investigate the model that can link to better environmental performance which finally creates business and social sustainability, the conceptual framework containing creative behavior, knowledge transfer, green service behavior, and environmental performance is constructed. Due to the business context, the logistics service industry was selected as the study area because it is recently boomed and generates huge income for business entrepreneurs as well as releases huge impact on natural environment such as air, noise, and water pollution. Consequently, the result retrieved from the research can help lessen the direction to enhance business operation in terms of environmental performance. Taken the consequence of this paper into consideration, the following part from the introduction would be literature reviews mentioning the theories, concepts, previous studies, and hypothesis development. The next part involves research methodology. Meanwhile, the remaining parts are about the research result, conclusion and discussion as well as research implications.
Relationship among Employees’ Creative Behavior, Knowledge Transfer, and Green Service Behavior
Creative behavior refers to ability of the employees in the organization deem to identify the opportunities to enter into new ideas and knowledge from different sources such as training programs or workshops as well as from different colleagues, supervisors, and experts (Nawaz et. al., 2014; Zaitouni & Ouakouak, 2018; Yasmeen, Batool & Bajwa, 2020) and utilize those ideas and knowledge to think, share, and apply to solve the problems or create innovation (George & Zhou, 2001; Zhou & George, 2001; Simmons & Sower, 2012; Hu & Zhao, 2016). Creative behavior has its positiveness, for example, Asanov and Pokrovskaia (2017) studying about creative behavior in digital economy and advocating the creative behavior is very important for the knowledge economy promoting innovation, problem solving, and adaptability in business environment changes. In addition, Joo and Bennett (2018) studied about proactivity, creative behavior, organizational commitment, and job performance in Korea multinationals and found that the level of employee creativity can influence job performance. Evidently, creative behavior of the employees nowadays has been very much significant since it can drive the organization to obtain the competitive advantages and business performance (Argote, & Ingram, 2000). Particularly, the recent period of knowledge economy which the business world is driven by the knowledge and intellectual properties (Roberts, 2000; Lefter et al., 2011; Trauth, 2012). For knowledge transfer, many scholars attempt to study about it and found that the knowledge transfer has significantly positive outcomes towards the employees’ green service behavior such as workload achievement, work quality, environmental friendliness, and time consumption (Duan & Sheng, 2018; Jermsittiparsert & Srisawat, 2019). as well as organization performance in terms of both financial and non-financial aspects such as profit increase, grown marker share, organizational innovation, and organizational environmental-friendly image and reputation (Girdauskien? & Savanevi?ien?, 2012; Hamdoun, Jabbour & Othman, 2018; Zandi, Khalid & Islam, 2019). Similarly, Cosimato, and Troisi (2014) studied about the influence of green innovation in logistics competitiveness and sustainability in DHL company and found that knowledge of the employees is also important to drive employees to successfully to implement the green concepts into use in the organization. Also, Imran et al. (2018) studied about knowledge processes, employee creativity, and firm performance and found that knowledge transfer through knowledge learning, sharing, and implementing was more enhancing firm performance. In the meantime, Sun et. al. (2020) studied about enterprise social media affordances as enablers of knowledge transfer and creative performance in a variety of industry sectors in China, and the research result revealed that knowledge transfer is important in promoting the generation of novel and useful thoughts to create organization creative performance. Lastly, Duan and Sheng (2018) studied about environmental knowledge transfer and green employee behavior among Chinese participated in the Chinese General Social Survey and found that environmental knowledge transfer can influence green employee behavior. In conclusion, employee creative behavior has a positive influence on knowledge transfer and green service behavior. Accordingly, the hypothesis in this research could be drawn as follows.
H1 Employee creative behavior has a positive influence on knowledge transfer. H2 Employee creative behavior has a positive influence on green service behavior.
Relationship among Employees’ Knowledge Transfer, Green Service Behavior, and Environmental Performance
Theoretically, knowledge transfer refers to the process of the knowledge acquisition and provision in the organization by the employees (Van Beveren, 2002; Minbaeva, 2007). For knowledge acquisition, it refers to the identification and collection of the knowledge which can be both explicit and implicit form, meaning that the knowledge can be obtained through knowledge codification and practical application (Trauth, 2012; Vale, Vale & Duarte, 2020). For knowledge provision, it refers to the delivery of knowledge to other people in the organization which can be done in mainly two ways: formal and informal (Girdauskien? & Savanevi?ien?, 2012; De Clercq, & Pereira, 2020). Literately, knowledge provision can be done based on socialization, externalization, combination, and internalization which the knowledge can be transferred through practice, guidance, imitation, observation, conversion, codification, combination, modification, and internalization (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995). Prior studies show that knowledge transfer can significantly correlate with green service behavior such as reducing pollution, time consumption, and energy consumption because it requires environmental knowledge through learning, exchanging, and sharing. Furthermore, employee knowledge transfer has a positive influence on environmental performance (Evangelista & Durst, 2015; Jermsittiparsert, Somjai & Toopgajank, 2020). Accordingly, green service behavior refers to the behavior of the employees in the organization have been assigned to work related to environmental concerns as well recognized importance of natural environment. For example, Stanovcic, Pekovic, and Bouziri (2015) studied on the effect of knowledge management on environmental innovation which data was collected from 1,117 usable firms from the manufacturing sector in France and found that knowledge management through knowledge sharing can significantly lead to improve a firm’s green innovativeness. Similarly, Evangelista and Durst (2015) confirmed that knowledge management had the link to environmental sustainability practices of third-party logistics service providers. Lastly, Duan and Sheng (2018) revealed that environmental knowledge transfer can influence green employee behavior. Besides, green service behavior can link to a positive influence on environmental performance. Similarly, Kim et. al. (2019) found that employees’ eco-friendly behavior can positively influence environmental performance. In conclusion, employee knowledge transfer has a positive influence on green service behavior and environmental performance, and green service behavior has a positive influence on environmental performance. Accordingly, the hypothesis in this research could be drawn as follows.
H3 Employee knowledge transfer has a positive influence on green service behavior. H4 Employee knowledge transfer has a positive influence on environmental performance. H5 Green service behavior has a positive influence on environmental performance.
This research employed quantitative approach for the study conduction. The population of this research were employees working in logistics service industry located in Bangkok and Metropolitan area, and 400 samples were drawn from Krejcie and Morgan (1970) technique. In addition, this 400-sample size was enough for using structural equation model (SEM) to analyze the data (Yuan & Bentler, 2000; Savalei & Bentler, 2005). Purposive sampling method was used to identify the target samples, and convenient sampling method was used to collect data within the purposed areas. Five-rating-scale questionnaire with the test of content validity index and Cronbach’s alpha as of 0.98 was used as a research instrument (Polit & Beck, 2006; Halek, Holle & Bartholomeyczik, 2017; Hair et. al., 2020). The measurement consists of employee creative behavior (BEV) which includes opportunity identification (OPT); idea initiation (INTI); idea leadership (LED); and idea implementation (IMP), employee knowledge transfer which includes socialization (SOC); externalization (EXT); combination (COM); and internalization (INT), employee green service behavior (SER) and environmental performance (ENP). Statistics used for the data analysis included structural equation modeling (SEM) with its good-fitness indices (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2007; Hooper, Coughlan & Mullen, 2013). The modification indices were considered when the model was not fit (Knekta, Runyon & Eddy, 2019). Finally, the result was presented in tabulated and descriptive ways.
Respondents’ General Information
Due to the study of respondents’ general information, the research result showed that most of the respondents were female (265 persons, accounted for 66.3 percent), aged between 21-30 years old (142 persons, accounted for 35 percent), were single (221 persons, accounted for 55.3 percent), graduated with a bachelor’s degree (195 persons, accounted for 48.8 percent), worked as operational staff (375 persons, accounted for 93.8 percent), and monthly earned between 15,001 – 25,000 baht.
Employee Creative Behavior, Employee Knowledge Transfer, Employee Green Service Behavior, and Environmental Performance
The research result indicated that employee creative behavior, employee knowledge transfer, employee green service behavior, and environmental performance were agreed by the employees in logistics service industry in extremely high level with the mean score as of 4.320, 4.245, 4.339, and 4.311 and standard deviation as of 0.437, 0.568, 0.546, and 0.559, respectively. Considering each dimension, employee creative behavior focuses on finding opportunity to learn new things as well as implement new learning to provide the right services for the right customers at the right prices. Meanwhile, employee knowledge transfer emphasizes on knowledge sharing through socialized events where employees in the organization can participate and communicate with each other’s. In addition, employee green service behavior is defined as ability which the employees can provide the services with saving energy, reducing pollution as well as consuming appropriate time. Lastly, environmental performance mainly focuses on the outcome which the company can overall reduce negative impact to the environment.
Final Model and Hypothesis Analysis
Before the model was constructed, normal data distribution was analyzed using skewness and kurtosis values, which the values were between -3 and +3, meaning that all data were distributed normally and appropriate to be used for constructing the structure. In the meantime, the researchers tested the multiple correlation of the observed variables to avoid the multicollinearity. The result revealed that the variables had coefficient (r) within the acceptable values, ranging between 0.102 – 0.598 which are not higher than 0.90 as recommended by Tabachnick and Fidell (2007). In addition, the model was purified by using first order, second order, and higher order confirmatory factor analysis, and there were remaining 32 from 46 initial variables. As a result, the factor loadings as well as the value of reliability and validity through Cronbach’s alpha, composite reliability (C.R.), and average variance extracted (AVE) tests were shown in the below Table 1 and 2.
After the conduction of the first order, second order, and higher order confirmatory factor analysis was studied, and the initial and adjusted final model were then constructed with consideration of good-fit model criteria. Table 3 revealed standardized estimate, standard error, and t-value that were used to analyze hypotheses. All underlying variables were in the acceptable frontiers with statistically significant level as of 0.01 and 0.001 and t-values were greater than 1.960 advocating hypotheses were accepted. In addition, Figure 1 displayed employee creative behavior had a positive effect on employee knowledge transfer (β = 0.803) and employee service behavior (β = 0.433). Meanwhile, knowledge transfer had a positive effect on green service behavior (β = 0.324) and environmental performance (β = 0.373). Lastly, green service behavior had a positive effect on environmental performance (β = 0.298).
DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATION
To discuss the findings, the result showed that employee creative behavior in logistics service industry has a positive effect on employee knowledge transfer and employee service behavior. This is because employees who attempt to find and learn creative ideas and knowledge through participating into work skill training and workshop as well as implement the obtained knowledge would be willing to share their knowledge to other people within the organization, and they can link the aforementioned knowledge to achieve green service behavior making the customers in logistics service industry feel satisfactory. This research result is consistent with Asanov and Pokrovskaia (2017) advocating the creative behavior is very important for the knowledge economy since it can help create innovation, problem solving as well as be adaptable to business environment changes. Similarly, Imran et. al. (2018) mentioned that knowledge processes and employee creativity were correlated and outlined that knowledge learning, sharing, and implementing were more enhancing firm performance. In the meantime, Joo and Bennett (2018) found that the level of employee creativity in the organization in Korea multinationals can influence job performance. Also, the result indicates that logistics service knowledge transfer has a significant positive effect on green service behavior and environmental performance of logistics service industry. This is because that knowledge transfer of new ways to service customers is very crucial variable that links the employees to enhance their work performance related to environmentally friendly services and finally links to the environmental performance of logistics service industry in terms of organizational image and reputation as well as pollution reduction. The example can be taken a look from DHL company that uses green concept to provide the services to their customers which it has to manage and support the knowledge for their employees (Cosimato & Troisi, 2014). The research result is consistent with De Clercq and Pereira (2020) who found that knowledge-sharing effort has its usefulness for employees in creating passion and problem-solving skills to complete their job tasks. Similarly, Sun et. al. (2020) revealed that knowledge transfer is important in promoting the generation of novel and useful thoughts to create organization creative performance. Lastly, the result indicated that green service behavior has a significant positive effect on environmental performance. This is due to the fact that employees with environmental conservation mindsets can help the organization achieve the environmental performance significantly. Profoundly, this study is consistent with the study done by Duan and Sheng (2018) who revealed that environmental knowledge transfer can influence green employee behavior. Additionally, Kim et. al. (2019) indicated that employees’ eco-friendly behavior has significant effect on environmental performance.
This research has several implications which consist of two aspects: practical and theorical. For the practical implication, the research result suggests that the organizations in logistics service industry should promote employees’ creative behavior emphasizing on new knowledge opportunity identification, utilization leadership, initiation, and implementation, which can be made from organizational training, workshop, meeting, or socialized events, in order to create employees’ willingness to share knowledge, increase employees’ green services as well as to better provide environmental-friendly based green services. Consequently, the result can finally link to the organizations’ environmental performance such as organizational reputation, pollution reduction, and energy saving. In addition, the knowledge transfer in the organizations has been acknowledged to act as crucial variable which the organizations should consider how to manage the knowledge called knowledge management in the organization. For theorical implication, the academicians could be confirmed that employee creative behavior can have an influence on knowledge transfer, green service behavior, and environmental performance in logistics service industry. Furthermore, the future research can expand and investigate the model to other variables such as digitalization and globalization in order to oversee whether they are integrated to increase in the organizations’ environmental performance and competitiveness in the recent business environment paradigm.
To conclude the study, the researchers pinpoint the importance of employee creative behavior and knowledge transfer in the organization which can lead to crease employees’ green service behavior and organizational performance in terms of environmental matters. The study was conducted in logistics service industry in Thailand since it is now boomed and has an impact towards environment. Through the study analysis using structural equation modelling, the result indicated that employees’ creative behavior and knowledge transfer had a significant influence on employees’ green services and environmental performance, which the results are supported from previous studies. Therefore, the organizations should recognize ways to create employees’ creativity and knowledge transfer through organization’s activities to better employees’ services and organizational performance related to environmental issue.