Purpose Professional service firm (PSF) performance depends on the accumulation and application of specialist knowledge to find customised solutions to customer problems. However, available research has not examined whether knowledge acquired from external sources affects PSF outcomes by strengthening professionals’ beliefs rather than only by increasing technical competency. Drawing on self-efficacy theory, this study tests a model that links the quality of content acquired from external sources and the credibility of those sources to professionals’ self-efficacy and, in turn, to PSF outcomes (solution quality and firm performance). In particular, this paper aims to consider the case of professional content exchanged through professional social media. Design/methodology/approach A cross-sectional research design was applied. Data were collected from a sample of 208 accountants, auditors and lawyers who used professional social media and were analysed using covariance-based structural equation modelling. Findings When accessing professional content from external sources, source credibility and content quality are significant antecedents of professionals’ self-efficacy, which, in turn, has positive effects on PSF outcomes (solution quality and PSF performance). Research limitations/implications Self-efficacy plays a key role in the link between knowledge acquired from external sources (professional content) and PSF outcomes. Practical implications This study provides recommendations and actionable insights for PSFs, professionals and other actors who create and exchange professional content. Professional associations may also take an active role by contributing and sharing credible and high-quality content, using, for example, professional social media. Originality/value This paper advances the current understanding of the effects of professionals’ access to content from external sources on PSF outcomes. It provides an explanation of these effects based on the enhancement of professionals’ beliefs instead of their technical competencies, as indicated in previous research. In addition, it is the first research effort to consider professional social media as a communication channel to exchange content that affects the self-efficacy of PSF professionals.

Antecedents of professionals' self-efficacy in professional service firms: effects of external source credibility and content quality

Cassia, F.;
2021

Abstract

Purpose Professional service firm (PSF) performance depends on the accumulation and application of specialist knowledge to find customised solutions to customer problems. However, available research has not examined whether knowledge acquired from external sources affects PSF outcomes by strengthening professionals’ beliefs rather than only by increasing technical competency. Drawing on self-efficacy theory, this study tests a model that links the quality of content acquired from external sources and the credibility of those sources to professionals’ self-efficacy and, in turn, to PSF outcomes (solution quality and firm performance). In particular, this paper aims to consider the case of professional content exchanged through professional social media. Design/methodology/approach A cross-sectional research design was applied. Data were collected from a sample of 208 accountants, auditors and lawyers who used professional social media and were analysed using covariance-based structural equation modelling. Findings When accessing professional content from external sources, source credibility and content quality are significant antecedents of professionals’ self-efficacy, which, in turn, has positive effects on PSF outcomes (solution quality and PSF performance). Research limitations/implications Self-efficacy plays a key role in the link between knowledge acquired from external sources (professional content) and PSF outcomes. Practical implications This study provides recommendations and actionable insights for PSFs, professionals and other actors who create and exchange professional content. Professional associations may also take an active role by contributing and sharing credible and high-quality content, using, for example, professional social media. Originality/value This paper advances the current understanding of the effects of professionals’ access to content from external sources on PSF outcomes. It provides an explanation of these effects based on the enhancement of professionals’ beliefs instead of their technical competencies, as indicated in previous research. In addition, it is the first research effort to consider professional social media as a communication channel to exchange content that affects the self-efficacy of PSF professionals.
Self-efficacy, Performance, Professional service firms, Value creation, Knowledge management, Professional social media
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1053539
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