Managers versus co-workers as referents : comparing social influence effects on within- and outside-subsidiary knowledge sharing
Boh, Wai Fong
Wong, Sze Sze
Date of Issue2014
College of Business (Nanyang Business School)
This study uses a social influence lens to examine how key social referents influence individuals’ knowledge sharing behaviors within and outside their subsidiaries. Using a multiple-survey research design, our empirical study shows that unit managers and co-workers act as key social referents. Their knowledge sharing behaviors have significant influence over individual knowledge sharing within the subsidiary. However, we found that in the higher-risk scenario associated with outside-subsidiary knowledge sharing, individuals model their unit managers’ knowledge sharing behaviors only when they perceive the organization to be high in willingness to take risk. Finally, our study shows that unit co-workers are such an important social referent that, despite the higher levels of uncertainty and risk in outside-subsidiary knowledge sharing, individuals look to their unit co-workers for cues on desired knowledge sharing behaviors. This study extends previous research by investigating fundamental theoretical underpinnings of prior research that examine social influence on knowledge sharing.
Organizational behavior and human decision processes
© 2014 Elsevier. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [Article DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2014.09.008].