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Knowledge-sharing hostility and governance mechanisms: an empirical test

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Abstract:

PurposeThis paper aims at further developing and empirically examining the concept of knowledge-sharing hostility. It seeks to analyze reasons for hoarding knowledge, reasons for rejecting external knowledge, and attitudes towards mistakes, as well as the influence of these factors on actual knowledge-sharing behavior. The paper aims to examine how two specific knowledge-governance mechanisms ‐ commitment-based and transaction-based mechanisms ‐ affect knowledge sharing Design/methodology/approachThe authors test the hypotheses on a sample of 1,639 respondents in 15 organizations in Denmark. FindingsThe authors find that the use of transaction-based mechanisms promotes knowledge-sharing hostility by strengthening individuals' reasons for hoarding and rejecting knowledge, and by negatively affecting individuals' attitudes towards sharing knowledge about mistakes. In contrast, the use of commitment-based mechanisms diminishes knowledge-sharing hostility among individuals. Originality/valueThe contribution of the paper is two-fold. First, it responds to the clear need to examine individual characteristics related to withholding knowledge in organizations. Second, by delineating specific organizational governance mechanisms that are critical for dealing with knowledge-sharing hostility, the research responds to the call for research aimed at explaining and detailing problems that lie in the intersection of organization and knowledge processes.

Keywords: Denmark; Governance mechanisms; Individual behaviour; Knowledge transfer; Knowledge-sharing behaviour; Knowledge-sharing hostility

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13673271211262790

Publication date: September 7, 2012

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