Knowledge Hiding in Consulting Industry: the Case of EY in Kazakhstan

University essay from Högskolan i Gävle/Avdelningen för ekonomi; Högskolan i Gävle/Avdelningen för ekonomi

Abstract: Aim: This study aims to explore the knowledge hiding phenomenon among project teammembers in the consulting industry. This study investigated why, when, how and what type ofknowledge team members hide.Methodology: This research applied a qualitative research with inductive approach. Semistructuredinterviews with eleven participants from EY in Kazakhstan were conducted.Secondary data was obtained from existing scientific articles and books.Findings: Findings of the study provided that (i) variables affecting knowledge hiding atindividual level also influence at team level; (ii) the technological and organizational barriershad a minor influence on knowledge hiding at team level; (ii) tacit/explicit and key/commonknowledge are subject to hiding among team members; (iv) three additional variables arediscovered at team level, i.e. laziness, fear of being seen silly and self-study. Theoretical contributions: This study contributes to the counterproductive knowledgebehaviour by exploring patterns of knowledge hiding among team members. Additionalknowledge sharing barriers of why and when team members hide knowledge were found. Teammembers hide knowledge when they feel ownership over knowledge and territoriality servesas a mediating tool. Nevertheless, collective knowledge psychological ownership weakensknowledge hiding, because team’s success is more important than individual’s goals.Managerial implications: Organizations are encouraged to nurture team environment, becauseteam members might feel that they are obliged to share their knowledge. Also, managementshould consider to lower territoriality perspectives (e.g. by team buildings, etc.). Limitations and future research: Future research should increase the number of respondentsfrom different companies, industries and geographical areas. To validate the three newly foundknowledge hiding variables at team level, they can be tested at individual level. On top of thatfuture research can focus on the effects of interpersonal injustice on knowledge hiding on eachmember, motivational process on knowledge concealing/sharing and cross-cultural differencesof how knowledge concealing is interpreted can be researched.

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