Why and when knowledge hiding in the workplace is harmful: a review of the literature and directions for future research in the Chinese context

Mengtian Xiao, Fang Lee Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)


Knowledge hiding as an organisational phenomenon has started to attract research attention only in the last decade or so, although it may be a common behaviour in the workplace. Emerging research findings suggest that knowledge hiding is not necessarily a negative act with detrimental outcomes. Why do employees hide their knowledge? What can organisations do to encourage knowledge sharing in the workplace? Drawing on 52 studies published in academic English and Chinese journals over the period of 1997–2017, this study conducts a systematic review on knowledge hiding to clarify the concept, analyse existing research findings, identify research gaps and shed light on future research direction theoretically and empirically. The study has practical implications for organisations in terms of what human resource management interventions may be adopted to minimise undesirable knowledge hiding behaviours and to build trust among employees and enhance organisational effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-502
Number of pages33
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Human Resources
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Chinese
  • human resource management practices
  • knowledge hiding
  • knowledge sharing
  • strategic HRM

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