Exploring Factors Triggering Individual Knowledge Hiding at the eCommerce Operation Workplace
Keywords:implicit knowledge, explicit knowledge, career potential, career plateau, job insecurity, employees’ strategy consensus, knowledge hiding
Knowledge often requires both experience (implicit knowledge) and exploration (explicit knowledge) (Park and Gabbard, 2018); the knowledge in the e-commerce industry is constantly changing. E-commerce companies must figure out knowledge hiding behaviors inside the organization and eliminate them. Although knowledge management and knowledge sharing implementation have been conducted in organizations academically and practically for many years, employees still share knowledge reluctantly. For instance, in an e-commerce company with multiple online shops, operators are reluctant to share knowledge with colleagues since the techniques and the newest information have huge impacts on the online sales, which will affect the operator’s income and job stability in future (Han, Hampson and Wang, 2021). However, it is detrimental to the overall interests of the company because knowledge can bring competitive advantages to enterprises, and ensure that enterprises are distinguished from other organizations and occupy a favorable position in commercial competition. This paper investigated the antecedents of employees’ knowledge hiding behavior from the knowledge type perspective and explores each path behind the individual type of knowledge: job insecurity path and timeliness path. At the same time, considering the existing fact that companies already have policies that encourage knowledge sharing but still have knowledge hiding behaviors, this paper also explores whether employees’ perception toward corporate knowledge sharing strategies will affect the above two paths. The empirical data was collected from nearly 400 employees (frontline operators and junior managers) from six e-commerce business entities in China. The results verified that employees with a stronger perception of career plateau tend to hide tacit knowledge (derived from their experience) due to job insecurity behind. As to explicit knowledge, the higher the timeliness of the knowledge, the less likely it is that employees would like to hide their knowledge.
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