What one feels and what one knows: the influence of emotions on attitudes and intentions towards knowledge sharing

Bart van den Hooff (Associate Professor in the Knowledge, Information and Networks Research Group, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Alexander P. Schouten (Assistant Professor in the Knowledge, Information and Networks Research Group, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Stojan Simonovski (Student in the Department of Innovation Technology Entrepreneurship and Marketing, Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Publication date: 17 February 2012

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide theoretical and empirical insight into the relationship between emotions and knowledge sharing.

Design/methodology/approach

Hypotheses concerning the influence of pride and empathy on knowledge sharing attitudes and intentions are developed, based on prior research. The hypotheses were tested by means of a survey within the Dutch branch of a global IT organization, in which respondents (n=252) were asked to evaluate one of four different scenarios, invoking either pride or empathy. Respondents were asked their attitude and intention towards knowledge sharing in the situation sketched in the scenario.

Findings

Pride and empathy were found to affect eagerness and willingness to share knowledge. Furthermore, these emotions also influenced knowledge sharing intentions, partly mediated by eagerness and willingness. Both eagerness and willingness mediate the relationship between pride and knowledge sharing intention, whereas only willingness turned out to mediate the relationship between empathy and knowledge sharing.

Research limitations/implications

An important limitation is that the scenarios which were used were hypothetical. A suggestion for further research is to conduct a lab experiment (for instance, using a role play situation) in which emotions are manipulated in an interactive setting.

Originality/value

Emotions have not been related to knowledge sharing in a systematic way before. By connecting these two areas of research, this study provides new interdisciplinary insights.

Keywords

Citation

van den Hooff, B., Schouten, A. and Simonovski, S. (2012), "What one feels and what one knows: the influence of emotions on attitudes and intentions towards knowledge sharing", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 148-158. https://doi.org/10.1108/13673271211198990

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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