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How do front-line employees make decisions on whether to hide their knowledge from co-workers in hospitality firms?

Yong Rao (School of Tourism Management, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China)
Lifen Lao (School of Tourism Management, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China)
Chao Liu (School of Tourism Management, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 5 April 2021

Issue publication date: 6 July 2021

677

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the psychological process by which front-line employees (FLEs) in hospitality firms make decisions on hiding knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative methodology was used, with triangulated data collection from six different types of hospitality firms. By using the thematic analysis approach, a conceptual framework consisting of seven main themes was constructed to reflect the replicable logic of an individual’s knowledge exchange decision-making in various situations.

Findings

This study proposes a theoretical framework describing how hotel employees evaluate the cost and benefit of knowledge exchange implicitly. Using this framework, this paper illustrates the strategies that FLEs use to make a bounded-rational decision on knowledge exchange in situations characterized by time constraints and limited information.

Practical implications

Hotel managers can use the psychological process presented in this paper to better understand how FLEs make knowledge-hiding decisions in the workplace. Furthermore, specific measures are suggested to reduce FLEs’ knowledge-hiding behaviors in each stage of their knowledge exchange decision process.

Originality/value

This paper uncovers the psychological process of individuals’ decision-making regarding hiding knowledge from others in the hotel context, thus increasing the understanding of the rationale of FLEs’ knowledge hiding behaviors from the perspective of bounded-rational decision theory.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the [National social science fund of China] under Grant [16BGL112] and by the [Sun Yat-Sen University] under Grant [19wkpy68].

Disclosure statement: No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

Citation

Rao, Y., Lao, L. and Liu, C. (2021), "How do front-line employees make decisions on whether to hide their knowledge from co-workers in hospitality firms?", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 33 No. 5, pp. 1532-1553. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-09-2020-1071

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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