Assistant Professor PEE Loo Geok

From the National University of Singapore (NUS), Dr. Pee Loo Geok attained her Bachelor in Computing (Honours) in 2005, and her PhD in Information Systems in 2010, before joining NTU as an Assistant Professor.

Dr. Pee’s main research interest is in information technology (IT)-enabled knowledge management (KM), specifically the production and sharing of knowledge in organisations.

“I study KM technologies such as knowledge repositories,” she says, “and also communities of practice and discussion forums that allow people to come together, establish social relationships, and exchange work-related knowledge.”

All this with a very strong IT focus, of course. She speaks of the importance of technology in enabling efficient knowledge flow in modern organizations. The heavy regard towards IT is also attributed to her academic background.

“In my bachelor and PhD dissertations, IT was a key element,” says the assistant professor, who studied at the NUS School of Computing. “So it carried forward into my current research.”

One project she is fielding now examines the spillover of knowledge among crowdsourcing-based new product development projects. She finds such projects interesting because they involve external participants much more extensively than traditional projects. While crowdsourcing enriches the knowledge available, managing a highly fluid crowd also poses new challenges to KM and project management.

As an extension, Dr. Pee also studies why people are motivated to participate and contribute ideas and knowledge in crowdsourcing. “Participating in the activities takes a lot of time and effort. Most of the time, there is no guaranteed reward or financial incentive. It is interesting to know what entices these participants.”

She has also studied knowledge sharing from the perspective of job design. “The effects of extrinsic motivation such as financial rewards, and intrinsic motivation such as enjoyment in helping others, are well established. However, there has been less understanding of how job design may influence knowledge sharing. Job design is relevant and important since KM typically seeks to capture job-related knowledge,” Dr. Pee explained.

“For instance, job autonomy can influence employees’ belief in whether they have time or opportunity to share knowledge with others; while skill variety, or the extent to which they used different skills at work, can determine their belief in their ability to share valuable knowledge,” she added.

“I believe that it is very important for research studies to have practical relevance,” she says, pointing out that her focus on job design is due partly to the fact that it is something that can be purposefully managed. “In contrast, intrinsic motivation is more difficult to influence and extrinsic motivation often has a short-term effect only.”

The strong interest in KM has made its way into her teaching as well. Dr. Pee currently teaches two courses, namely Knowledge Management Strategies and Policies, and KM Practices and Implementation, as part of the WKWSCI MSc in Knowledge Management curriculum. “I’m glad to have the opportunity to teach topics that are closely related to my research. I often get new research ideas while interacting with course participants,” she says.

Any big plans for the future?

“I’m working on the crowdsourcing-related studies that I had planned and hope they will contribute to a more holistic understanding of the new phenomenon and its implications for KM in organisations. Based on the studies, I aim to develop some practical guidelines for managers who are interested in using crowdsourcing to enhance the knowledge stock and flow in their organisations.”