This study aims to build a moderated mediation model to investigate the roles that trust in the leader and follower Machiavellianism can play in the relationship between moral disengagement of the leader and hiding of knowledge of the followers.
Data were gathered from eight universities in Turkey using a set of 72 matched leader (dean)–follower (faculty member) questionnaires. The hypotheses were tested with multiple regression, moderated regression and bootstrapping analyses.
The findings reveal that leader moral disengagement positively influences follower knowledge hiding, while trust in the leader mediates this influence and follower Machiavellianism not only moderates the relationship between leader moral disengagement and trust in the leader but also reduces the indirect relationship between leader moral disengagement and follower knowledge hiding through trust in the leader.
Even though measurements of research variables were collected from different sources and with time separation, common method bias might have existed. Also, this research is carried out in a single cultural context posing the issue of the generalizability of our findings to other cultural contexts.
The main contribution of this study is to construct and investigate a conceptual model that focuses on the possible effect of moral disengagement of the leader on knowledge hiding by the followers. Also, by supporting the mediating role of trust in the leader, this research reveals that followers of leaders with high moral disengagement are more prone to indulge in the hiding of knowledge. Moreover, the moderating role of follower Machiavellianism, found in this study, provides an additional understanding that followers may vary in the degree to which they are sensitive to the leader's influence.
Erkutlu, H. and Chafra, J. (2021), "Leader moral disengagement and follower knowledge hiding. A moderated mediation model of follower Machiavellianism and trust in the leader", Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEAS-05-2020-0060
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