Knowledge is considered as a strategic asset for the organizations, especially for knowledgeintensive firms. Research and development (R&D) is a significant unit in organizations, as it is devoted to knowledge creation and transfer. The success of any R&D project in an organization depends on its innovative value and the transfer of knowledge to the employees. This study aims to focus on factors triggering knowledge-hiding behavior among R&D employees, thus disrupting the knowledge creation in the organization.
The grounded theory approach has been used to analyze qualitative data collected from 19 in-depth interviews of R&D professionals (middle and junior level) working in Indian pharmaceutical firms.
The study identified factors that triggered knowledge-hiding behavior among employees. These factors include distrust, competitive work environment, perceived career insecurity, lack of recognition, lack of reciprocation and lack of confidence in own knowledge. In addition, four hiding strategies used by employees to hide their knowledge from their fellow members were explored and identified: playing innocent, being misleader/evasive hiding, rationalized hiding and counterquestioning.
Besides improving the understanding of knowledge-hiding behavior, particularly in the Indian context, this study has implications for both managerial practices and organizational policies.
This paper highlights the factors influencing knowledge-hiding behavior among R&D employees. Knowledge-hiding construct has not been adequately studied; however, it prevails in the organization and has potential to influence various individual- and organizational-level outcomes. In addition, ways of hiding knowledge used by employees were identified and new forms of strategies named “counter-questioning” were found.