What Goes Around Comes Around: Knowledge Hiding, Perceived Motivational Climate, and Creativity

Academy of Management Journal, Forthcoming

Posted: 8 Jan 2013

See all articles by Matej Cerne

Matej Cerne

Center of Excellence for Biosensors, Instrumentation, and Process Control - COBIK

Christina Nerstad

BI Norwegian Business School - Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour

Anders Dysvik

Independent

Miha Škerlavaj

BI Norwegian Business School, Department of Leadership and Organisational Behaviour; University of Ljubljana - Faculty of Economics, Department of Management and Organization

Date Written: January 7, 2013

Abstract

Knowledge hiding prevents colleagues from generating creative ideas, but it may also have negative consequences for the creativity of the knowledge hider. Drawing on social exchange theory, we propose that when employees hide knowledge, they trigger a reciprocal distrust loop in which coworkers are unwilling to share knowledge with them. We further suggest that these effects are contingent on the motivational climate such that the negative effects of hiding knowledge on one’s own creativity are enhanced in a performance climate and attenuated in a mastery climate. A field study of 240 employees, nested into 34 groups, revealed a negative relationship between knowledge hiding and the knowledge hider’s creativity as well as the moderating role of a mastery climate. Study 2 replicated these findings in an experimental study of 132 undergraduate students, testing a reciprocal distrust loop and comparing it with an alternative intra-psychic explanatory process based on situational regulatory focus. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

Keywords: Knowledge hiding, creativity, mastery climate, performance climate

JEL Classification: M12

Suggested Citation

Cerne, Matej and Nerstad, Christina and Dysvik, Anders and Skerlavaj, Miha, What Goes Around Comes Around: Knowledge Hiding, Perceived Motivational Climate, and Creativity (January 7, 2013). Academy of Management Journal, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2197455

Matej Cerne

Center of Excellence for Biosensors, Instrumentation, and Process Control - COBIK ( email )

Velika pot 22
Solkan, SI-5250
Slovenia

Christina Nerstad

BI Norwegian Business School - Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour ( email )

Norway

Anders Dysvik

Independent

Miha Skerlavaj (Contact Author)

BI Norwegian Business School, Department of Leadership and Organisational Behaviour ( email )

Nydalsveien 37
Oslo, 0442
Norway

HOME PAGE: http://www.bi.edu

University of Ljubljana - Faculty of Economics, Department of Management and Organization ( email )

Kardeljeva ploscad 17
Ljubljana, 1000
Slovenia

HOME PAGE: http://www.ef.uni-lj.si/en

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