The Application of PLS-SEM in Knowledge Management Processes in Higher Education Institutions


  • Emanuela Riccio University of Naples Parthenope, Naples, Italy
  • Roberto Cerchione University of Naples Parthenope, Naples, Italy
  • Piera Centobelli University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy



Absorptive Capacity (ACAP), Desorptive Capacity (DCAP), Higher Education Institutions (HEI), Knowledge Management (KM), Structural Equation Model (SEM), Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB)


This paper aims to investigate knowledge management (KM) processes in higher education institutions and shed light on the factors that influence the dynamics behind these processes. We focused on understanding how the perceptions about the involvement in KM activities can influence two of the knowledge management skills defined in the literature: absorptive capacity and desorptive capacity. Our work is based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour because it has the power to analyse and explain, through its constructs (attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control), the attitudes of individuals and their perceptions about the implementation of a particular behaviour. The methodology adopted for the empirical investigation is PLS-SEM (Partial Least Squares -Structural Equation Model). The necessary data was collected through a questionnaire sent by email to the potential academics interviewed. The results suggest that the factor impacting the relationship between KM and absorptive and desorptive capacity processes is the behavioural control perceived by academics. In addition, they demonstrate that the organizational climate within the university is an essential predictor of the behavioural intention of academics. The limitations, including the limited number of respondents and suggestions for future developments, are the conduction of a multi-group analysis and building a second-order PLS (Partial least square) model.