The Effect of Relative Performance Information on Knowledge Sharing among Employees

44 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2018

See all articles by Christian Schnieder

Christian Schnieder

University of Muenster

Friedrich Sommer

University of Bayreuth

Arnt Wöhrmann

University of Giessen

Date Written: October 30, 2018

Abstract

This study examines the effect of relative performance information (RPI) on knowledge sharing among employees. Additionally, we investigate whether the effect of RPI on knowledge sharing differs when employees can observe each other’s knowledge-sharing decisions. Based on the concepts of social comparison, impression management, social norms, and reciprocity, we predict and find that the presence of RPI reduces knowledge sharing among employees and that the observability of individual knowledge-sharing decisions increases knowledge sharing. Concerning the interaction of RPI and observability, theory suggests that observability mitigates the negative effect of RPI on knowledge sharing. However, we find that observability reduces the negative effect of RPI on knowledge sharing only in the short term. Over time, observability leads to increased knowledge sharing when RPI is absent but not when RPI is present. Hence, mere observability cannot completely suspend the negative effect of RPI. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Keywords: relative performance information, feedback, performance management, knowledge sharing, cooperation

JEL Classification: M410

Suggested Citation

Schnieder, Christian and Sommer, Friedrich and Wöhrmann, Arnt, The Effect of Relative Performance Information on Knowledge Sharing among Employees (October 30, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3275320 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3275320

Christian Schnieder

University of Muenster ( email )

Universitätsstr. 14-16
Muenster, 48143
Germany

Friedrich Sommer (Contact Author)

University of Bayreuth ( email )

Universitatsstr 30
Bayreuth, D-95447
Germany

Arnt Wöhrmann

University of Giessen ( email )

Managerial Accounting
Licher Str. 62
35394, 35394
Germany

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