Withholding knowledge in teams: An interactionist perspective of personality, justice, and autonomy

Wei Pan1, Qingpu Zhang1
1School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology
Cite this article:  Pan, W., & Zhang, Q. (2018). Withholding knowledge in teams: An interactionist perspective of personality, justice, and autonomy. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 46, 2009-2024.

Volume 46 Issue 12 | e7390 | Published: December 2018 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.7390

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From an interactionist perspective and drawing on trait activation theory, we examined the main and interactive effects of personality, overall justice, and job autonomy on knowledge withholding in a team context. Participants comprised 214 employees from software development teams. Results showed that employees with high conscientiousness and low neuroticism were less likely to withhold knowledge. Contrary to our expectations, job autonomy was positively related to knowledge withholding. Further, the negative relationship between conscientiousness and knowledge withholding was stronger in a high overall justice situation, whereas the positive relationship between neuroticism and knowledge withholding was stronger in situations of low overall justice and high job autonomy. Our findings highlight the differences between knowledge withholding and knowledge sharing, and show that high overall justice can compensate for less desirable personality characteristics, such as neuroticism and unconscientiousness.

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