To share or not to share knowledge – that’s the decision! The influence of feedback and expert status in knowledge sharing dilemmas

Conference poster


Moser, K (2018). To share or not to share knowledge – that’s the decision! The influence of feedback and expert status in knowledge sharing dilemmas. Models to Decisions 2018 Conference. University of Cambridge, UK 11 - 14 Jun 2018
AuthorsMoser, K
TypeConference poster
Abstract

Groups and organisations set cooperative goals for their members, yet in reality some team members contribute more than others to these goals. Experts, in particular, face a social dilemma: From the group’s perspective they should share their knowledge, whereas individually they are better off not sharing, because acquiring knowledge is costly and they would give up a competitive advantage. Experts also have no way of knowing beforehand how much others are willing and able to contribute, so have to make a decision under uncertainty. Two experiments (N1=96, N2=192) tested the hypothesis, derived from indirect reciprocity theory, that experts contribute more if their status is being recognized. Expert status was manipulated under different performance feedback conditions and the impact on people’s contributions in two different knowledge-sharing tasks was analysed. In both studies, experts contributed more when feedback was individualized and public, ensuring both individual status rewards and public recognition. In contrast, novices contributed more when performance feedback was collective, regardless of whether it was public or private feedback. Novices didn’t have to fear negative performance evaluations under group feedback and could gain in social status as members of a successful group. Social value orientation moderated expert contributions in Study 2, with proself-oriented experts being particularly susceptible to reputation gains. In the control condition, no feedback or information about levels of expertise was given at all and both experts and novices reduced their contributions significantly under full uncertainty. The studies contribute to the neglected aspect of motivation in knowledge sharing dilemmas where collective and individual interests are not necessarily aligned, especially in the case of high expertise. They further contribute to understanding behaviour under uncertainty with respect to intangible assets.

Keywordsdecisions under uncertainty; knowledge sharing dilemmas; expertise transfer; status; expert power; novices; asymmetric collaborations; cooperation; groups
Year2018
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open
Publication dates
Print11 Jun 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Aug 2018
Accepted01 Jun 2018
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License: CC BY 4.0
File access level: Open

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