The nature of the consequences of knowledge hiding, defined as an intentional attempt to withhold knowledge that has been requested, and the mechanisms through which knowledge hiding affects outcomes are under-theorized. In this research, we propose that knowledge hiding can evoke guilt and shame in the knowledge hiding perpetrator. We zoom into the three types of knowledge hiding—evasive hiding, playing dumb, and rationalized hiding—and predict that the more deceptive knowledge hiding types, namely evasive hiding and playing dumb, evoke stronger feelings of guilt and shame than rationalized hiding. We further argue that guilt and shame trigger differential emotion-based reparatory mechanisms, such that guilt induces the motivation to correct one’s transgressions through organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), whereas shame induces the tendency to withdraw after hiding knowledge, as reflected in lower levels of OCB. We test the proposed positive indirect relation between knowledge hiding and OCB via guilt, and the proposed negative indirect relation via shame in a scenario-based experiment and a two-wave field study. The studies provided support for most of our hypotheses. We discuss how the proposed emotion pathway can facilitate nuanced theorizing about consequences of knowledge hiding for different types of negative emotions and subsequent compensatory work behaviors.

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Keywords knowledge hiding, guilt, shame, emotion-based reparatory mechanism, organizational citizenship behavior
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Journal Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Burmeister, A, Gerpott, F.H, & Fasbender, U. (2018). Consequences of knowledge hiding: The differential compensatory effects of guilt and shame. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. doi:10.1111/joop.12249