CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)


College of Computing and Engineering


Ling Wang

Committee Member

Laurie P. Dringus

Committee Member

Junping Sun


Behavioral Intention, Explicit Knowledge, Knowledge Hiding, Knowledge Hoarding, Knowledge Sharing, Tacit Knowledge


Knowledge Hiding (KHi) is the deliberate act of withholding knowledge from others, driven by distrust. This distrust stems from three key factors: rationalized hiding, evasive hiding, and playing dumb. The latter two, evasive hiding and playing dumb, are particularly detrimental as they foster a cycle of mutual distrust within the workplace. To counteract this, organizations have significantly invested in promoting Tacit Knowledge (TK) and Explicit Knowledge (EK) sharing. These initiatives aimed to facilitate knowledge transfer, foster collaboration, enhance problem-solving capabilities, and strengthen social and interpersonal relationships.

Recent studies highlighted the importance of understanding the attributes linked to TK and EK. Research also underscored the challenge of distinguishing between general and intrinsic knowledge, which the TK holder keeps. TK is most difficult to express, making the information sought valuable and scarce. Understanding the intentions, motivations, and behaviors that contribute to KHi and Knowledge Hoarding (KHo), which is often a fear-based response, can be beneficial. The study aimed to identify the characteristics and motivators influencing an individual’s decision to share TK versus exhibiting KHi or KHo behaviors in the workplace.

A Survey Design methodology comprised an 11-stage systematic data collection and analysis approach. Over 42 days, a quantitative survey was administered to Knowledge Management professionals based in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This effort resulted in a total of 285 completed responses.

The findings from the research questions indicated that the survey participants were not only aware of but also actively engaged in KHi, KHo, and knowledge sharing behaviors in their workplaces. Furthermore, the participants recognized that their coworkers who possess TK made deliberate decisions about how and when to share this knowledge. Factors such as trust, sincerity, skillsets, and expertise significantly influenced the decision-making process of TK holders when considering sharing their knowledge. Leadership influences should be included in future studies, as these factors significantly affect the KHI and KHo behavior of individuals in the workplace.