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Are we in this together? Knowledge hiding in teams, collective prosocial motivation and leader-member exchange

Katja Babič (Department of Management and Organization, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)
Matej Černe (Department of Management and Organization, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)
Catherine E. Connelly (McMaster University DeGroote School of Business, Hamilton, Canada)
Anders Dysvik (Department for Leadership and Organizational Behavior, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)
Miha Škerlavaj (Department of Management and Organization, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 29 August 2019

Issue publication date: 20 November 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Although organizations expect employees to share knowledge with each other, knowledge hiding has been documented among coworker dyads. This paper aims to draw on social exchange theory to examine if and why knowledge hiding also occurs in teams.

Design/methodology/approach

Two studies, using experimental (115 student participants on 29 teams) and field (309 employees on 92 teams) data, explore the influence of leader-member exchange (LMX) on knowledge hiding in teams, as well as the moderating role of collective (team-level) prosocial motivation.

Findings

The results of experimental Study 1 showed that collective prosocial motivation and LMX reduce knowledge hiding in teams. Field Study 2 further examined LMX, through its distinctive economic and social facets, and revealed the interaction effect of team prosocial motivation and social LMX on knowledge hiding.

Originality/value

This study complements existing research on knowledge hiding by focusing specifically on the incidence of this phenomenon among members of the same team. This paper presents a multi-level model that explores collective prosocial motivation as a cross-level predictor of knowledge hiding in teams, and examines economic LMX and social LMX as two facets of LMX.

Keywords

Citation

Babič, K., Černe, M., Connelly, C.E., Dysvik, A. and Škerlavaj, M. (2019), "Are we in this together? Knowledge hiding in teams, collective prosocial motivation and leader-member exchange", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 23 No. 8, pp. 1502-1522. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-12-2018-0734

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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