Different motivations for knowledge sharing and hiding: The role of motivating work design

Marylène Gagné, Amy Wei Tian, Christine Soo, Bo Zhang, Khee Seng Benjamin Ho, Katrina Hosszu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

225 Citations (Scopus)


Little research to date has focused on understanding employee motivation to share and hide knowledge. Using self-determination theory, we tested the premise that knowledge sharing and hiding might be differentially motivated and that work design characteristics might influence the motivation to share knowledge with colleagues. In a panel survey of Australian knowledge workers and in a Chinese knowledge-intensive organization, we asked knowledge workers, using time-lagged designs, about perceptions of work design, motivation to share knowledge, and self-reported knowledge sharing and hiding behaviors. Results, largely replicated across both samples, indicated that cognitive job demands and job autonomy were positively related to future reports of knowledge-sharing frequency and usefulness via autonomous motivation to share knowledge. Unexpectedly, task interdependence was positively related to the three forms of knowledge hiding (evasive and rationalized hiding, and playing dumb) via external regulation to share knowledge. Implications for the design of jobs that motivate knowledge sharing and demotivate knowledge hiding are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-799
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


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