Accounting for professional accountants’ dysfunctional knowledge sharing: A self-determination theory perspective

R. Cameron Cockrell, Dan N. Stone, Benson Wier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Investigating how and why accounting professionals share useless and harmful knowledge challenges designers of accounting systems and organizational leaders. In this paper, we extend self-determination theory (SDT) to investigate the influence of financial incentives on (1) harmful, and (2) masked, i.e., organizationally useless, knowledge sharing (KS) among accounting professionals (n = 428) by adapting measures from SDT to the professional accounting context. Although self-disclosed dysfunctional KS is infrequent in our sample, the results indicate that, consistent with the predictions of our extension of SDT, accountants with higher controlled (higher autonomous) motivation are more (less) influenced by financial incentives and engage in more (less) dysfunctional KS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-65
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Information Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank workshop participants at the University of North Texas (2007 and 2009), Southern Illinois University, University of Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier University, Iowa State University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Miami University, University of Kentucky (2007 and 2009), the 2006 Queens University Knowledge Management Doctoral Consortium, and the 2007 Accounting, Behavior and Organizations Midyear Conference, as well as Robert Ramsay, Clyde Holsapple, and Tim Mitchell for comments, help, and support, and Candace Witherspoon for assistance with the manuscript. The authors also thank the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), the Gatton College of Business, and the Von Allmen School of Accountancy for financial support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, American Accounting Association. All rights reserved.


  • Accounting systems design
  • Incentives
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Motivation
  • Self-determination theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Accounting
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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