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“Is compassion an answer to the hiding problem?” Role of psychological danger and compassion training in knowledge hiding behavior

Parijat  Lanke (Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management Area, Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirappalli, Tiruchirappalli, India)

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Article publication date: 26 May 2022

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023




The purpose of this paper is twofold, first is to conceptualize the role of “psychological danger” and the consequent “interpersonal distrust” as the cause of knowledge hiding in organizations. Second, it proposes the role of “compassion” training to tackle this challenge to knowledge hiding. Thus, the overall idea contributes to the ongoing conversation on knowledge hiding and provides new insights into tackling the same.


This paper uses an integrative review technique to conceptualize the proposed relationships for model development. Extant work on knowledge hiding and its antecedents were reviewed to propose the new antecedents and outline how the compassion training may help combat the challenge posed. A theoretical lens of social exchange theory forms the basis for the proposed relationship.


This study forwards the reasons for knowledge hiding and the ways to tackle it. We observe that “psychological danger” (opposite of psychological safety) might lead to an interpersonal distrust between employees, and this may finally lead to knowledge hiding behavior. This interpersonal transaction leading to hiding behavior could be regulated by the compassion developed in an employee via training.


Although the research on “knowledge hiding” is progressing, there is still a lack of focus on findings answers to the challenges of the way “knowledge hiding” behavior is triggered. This study is unique in its proposal of an organizational intervention of “compassion” to tackle knowledge hiding.

Research implications

This study proposes a new set of antecedents to the knowledge hiding behavior. It also conceptualizes a moderated mediation model that could be tested in future research. Future studies may employ an intervention-based experimental or longitudinal survey research to study the proposed relationship.

Practical implications

This research takes cognizance of the challenge organizations face due to knowledge hiding behavior and how it degrades the knowledge management systems. It proposes that if employees are provided with compassion training, it may help check the issue of “knowledge hiding.”



Lanke, P. (2023), "“Is compassion an answer to the hiding problem?” Role of psychological danger and compassion training in knowledge hiding behavior", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 18-22.



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