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Strategies to mitigate knowledge hiding behavior: building theories from multiple case studies

Atif Saleem Butt (Department of Management, School of Business, American University of Ras Al Khaimah, Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates)
Ahmad Bayiz Ahmad (School of International and Public Affairs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China) (Department of Administration, University of Raparin, Ranya, Iraq)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 19 May 2020

Issue publication date: 2 July 2021




The purpose of this paper is to explore how firms can mitigate knowledge hiding behavior among their managers.


This study employs a multiple case study methodology by studying nine UAE based firms. Furthermore, 26 semi-structured interviews with senior managers are undertaken.


Based on the qualitative interviews and comprehensive data analysis, results unveil six strategies that firms can opt for in order to mitigate knowledge hiding behavior among managers (reducing chain of command, developing informal interaction among managers, introducing and implementing incentive policy, initiating easy performance appraisal, encouraging higher interdependency among managers and introducing open space work stations).

Research limitations/implications

This study has some limitations. First, the results of this study are not generalizable to a broader population. Second, this study explores behavioral patterns with respect to United Arab Emirates culture only. Second, the results presented in this study should be tested.

Practical implications

Firms can use the findings from this study to understand strategies that can help them to mitigate the knowledge hiding behavior of managers.


This study contributes to knowledge hiding literature by revealing strategies, which discourages knowledge hiding behavior in firms.



Butt, A.S. and Ahmad, A.B. (2021), "Strategies to mitigate knowledge hiding behavior: building theories from multiple case studies", Management Decision, Vol. 59 No. 6, pp. 1291-1311.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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