The joint effects of supervisor knowledge hiding, abusive supervision, and employee political skill on employee knowledge hiding behaviors

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Purpose: Knowledge hiding, intentionally withholding work-relevant information, is detrimental to organizations, yet practiced by supervisors and employees. Based on social learning and social exchange theories, this study aims to uncover the effects of supervisor knowledge hiding, abusive supervision and employee political skill on employee knowledge hiding behaviors, namely, evasive hiding, playing dumb and rationalized hiding. We compare the two destructive supervisor behaviors in their predictive values toward employee knowledge hiding and examine the role of employee political skill in mitigating their effects. Design/methodology/approach: Based on survey data collected from 598 German-speaking employees, we used path analysis to test the hypotheses. Findings: The two destructive supervisor behaviors and employee political skill predicted employee evasive hiding and playing dumb; supervisor knowledge hiding additionally predicted employee rationalized hiding. The predictive value of supervisor knowledge hiding was 2.5 times larger than that of abusive supervision and political skill. The effects of destructive supervisor behaviors were weaker for more politically skilled employees. Originality/value: We examine two destructive supervisor behaviors conjointly and show the differences between them regarding their predictive value toward employee knowledge hiding. Furthermore, we investigate the role of political skill in knowledge hiding.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Knowledge Management
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1209-1227
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 05.05.2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Author contribution : Both authors contributed equally.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.

    Research areas

  • Abusive supervision, Destructive leadership, Knowledge hiding, Political skill
  • Management studies