Negotiate, reciprocate, or cooperate? The impact of exchange modes on inter-employee knowledge sharing Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of exchange modes – negotiated, reciprocal, generalized, and productive – on inter-employee knowledge sharing. Design/methodology/approach Based on the affect theory of social exchange, a theoretical model was developed and empirically tested using a survey of 691 employees from 15 North American credit unions. Findings The negotiated mode of knowledge exchange, i.e. when a knowledge contributor explicitly establishes reciprocation conditions with a recipient, develops negative knowledge sharing attitude. The reciprocal mode, i.e. when a knowledge donor assumes that a receiver will reciprocate, has no effect on knowledge sharing attitude. The generalized exchange form, i.e. when a knowledge contributor believes that other organizational members may reciprocate, is weakly related to knowledge sharing attitude. The productive exchange mode, i.e. when a knowledge provider assumes he or she is a responsible citizen within a cooperative enterprise, strongly facilitates the development of knowledge sharing attitude, which, in turn, leads to knowledge sharing intentions. Practical implications To facilitate inter-employee knowledge sharing, managers should focus on the development of positive knowledge sharing culture when all employees believe they contribute to a common good instead of expecting reciprocal benefits. Originality/value This is one of the first studies to apply the affect theory of social exchange to study knowledge sharing.

publication date

  • July 11, 2016