Purpose: This study aims to explore an interpersonal predictor of coworkers-directed knowledge hiding behavior – the leader–member exchange social comparison (LMXSC). This study integrates leader–member exchange literature with social comparison theory to hypothesize that an individual’s upward LMXSC is positively correlated with coworkers-directed knowledge hiding and that an individual’s feelings of envy are mediated by the relationship between upward LMXSC and coworkers-directed knowledge hiding behavior. Also, this study proposes two-way and three-way interaction patterns of goal interdependence, which can influence LMXSC–envy relationships. Design/methodology/approach: Two independent studies are conducted to test the hypothesized relationships. In Study 1, the authors collected multi-wave data from a large public sector university in China (N = 1,131). The authors then replicated the Study 1 findings by collecting multi-source and multi-wave data from a telecom company based in China (n = 379). Findings: The authors found support across both studies for the idea that upward LMXSC is a possible interpersonal predictor of coworkers-directed knowledge hiding behavior. More specifically, it was found that feelings of envy ensue from upward LMXSC, resulting in further coworkers-directed knowledge hiding behavior. Further, this study shows that the influence of upward LMXSC on knowledge hiding behavior via feelings of envy was weaker (stronger) when employees have high (low) cooperative goal interdependence with coworkers, respectively, and when employees have low (high) competitive goal interdependence with the coworkers, respectively. Originality/value: This study extends current knowledge management literature by introducing LMXSC as an interpersonal predictor of coworkers-directed knowledge hiding behavior. This will help practitioners to curb such counterproductive behavior.
- Feelings of envy
- Goal interdependence
- Knowledge hiding
- Leader–member exchange social comparison
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation