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The impacts of ethical climate on knowledge contribution loafing among designers in engineering design firms: mediated effect of knowledge leadership

Lianying Zhang (Construction Management, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China)
Hui Sun (Construction Management, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 9 October 2020

Issue publication date: 25 June 2021

434

Abstract

Purpose

Knowledge contribution loafing as one of the major obstacles to knowledge sharing among designers in engineering design firms impedes better achievement of engineering design. The purpose of this paper is to examine different types of ethical climate impacts on knowledge contribution loafing among designers through the mediating effect of knowledge leadership.

Design/methodology/approach

By adopting a quantitative research design, data were collected using a survey questionnaire from 352 designers in engineering design firms. The data were analyzed using the partial-least squares structural equation modeling approach to test hypotheses.

Findings

Ethical climate is an important factor to affect knowledge contribution loafing among designers, and three types of ethical climate (self-interest, social responsibility and law/professional codes) have different degrees of influence on knowledge contribution loafing. In addition, knowledge leadership can alleviate knowledge contribution loafing, and it is a mediator between ethical climate and knowledge contribution loafing.

Practical implications

Engineering design firms should cultivate and strengthen the role of social responsibility, law/professional codes and knowledge leadership and reduce the influence of self-interest to mitigate the negative of knowledge contribution loafing among designers.

Originality/value

By identifying ethical climate as a novel influence factor for knowledge contribution loafing, this research further highlights the role of different types of ethical climate in an engineering design context. Moreover, it delves deeply into the issue around different types of ethical climate affect knowledge contribution loafing among designers through the role of knowledge leadership. This broadens the understanding of how ethical climate affects knowledge contribution loafing among designers in the engineering design organizations and enriches knowledge management literatures in engineering design industry.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: This research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Projects 71872126 and 71572126).

Citation

Zhang, L. and Sun, H. (2021), "The impacts of ethical climate on knowledge contribution loafing among designers in engineering design firms: mediated effect of knowledge leadership", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 1807-1827. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-07-2019-0389

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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