The mediation role of trust in knowledge sharing

Zhikun Ding (Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, People's Republic of China)
Fung Fai Ng (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China)
Jiayuan Wang (Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, People's Republic of China)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Publication date: 11 November 2013



Some researchers claim that trust can directly affect knowledge sharing but others consider that it is a mediator between some independent variables and knowledge sharing. So the purpose of this paper is to investigate whether trust is a mediator for knowledge sharing in the construction industry.


Personal construct theory is employed to test the mediation role of trust in architectural design teams. A questionnaire survey of architects is conducted in Beijing, Shanghai and Qingdao, People's Republic of China. The mediator model is tested using structural equation modeling.


The paper shows that the mediation role of trust between two personal construct based factors, i.e. social interaction (SI) and attitude on work (AttonW) and willingness to share knowledge is supported.

Research limitations/implications

As the paper focusses on architects working in the early-design stage of a project, the findings may not be applicable to other stages. In future, other project actors should also be considered so as to investigate the issues in construction management in a more comprehensive way.

Practical implications

The results suggest that team managers should improve the SIs between team members and provide guidance to team members about the correct attitude on work so that the level of interpersonal trust can be enhanced, thereby knowledge sharing is encouraged.


The personal construct theory developed in clinical psychology is applied to study the mediation role of trust for knowledge sharing in the construction industry. The interdisciplinary research offers a theoretical framework to reveal the cognitive process of knowledge sharing.



This research is conducted with the support of the National Science Foundation for Young Scholars of China (Grant No. 71202101); Humanities and Social Science Research Funding (No. 10YJCZH025), Ministry of Education of P.R. China; Scientific Planning Research Grant (No. 2009-K4-17, No. 2011-K6-24), Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of P.R. China; Shenzhen University Education Research Grant. The authors are also thankful to those who participated in this study and supported the research work.


Ding, Z., Fai Ng, F. and Wang, J. (2013), "The mediation role of trust in knowledge sharing", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 20 No. 6, pp. 604-619.

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