Dr. Chunke Su, associate professor of communication in the UT Arlington College of Liberal Arts, presented initial research findings on organizational knowledge hiding at the Sunbelt Conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA) on April 8.
The conference provides an interdisciplinary venue for social scientists, mathematicians, computer scientists, ethnologists, epidemiologists, organizational theorists, public health experts, and others to present current work in the area of social network analysis.
Dr. Su’s findings are part of a three-year $360,000 research grant funded by the U.S. Army Research Office to examine the personal, interpersonal, contextual, technological, organizational, and cultural factors that may lead to employees’ knowledge sharing and hiding behaviors.
“One of the most significant findings to date is that organizational members’ knowledge hiding is influenced by their ‘social’ network factors such as interpersonal affect and social interactions, whereas their knowledge sharing is driven by ‘work’ or ‘professional’ network factors such as task interdependence, expertise recognition, and interpersonal trust in co-workers’ capability in using shared knowledge appropriately. Thus knowledge sharing and hiding may not be the two opposite ends of a continuum, but orthogonal to each other based on the presence or absence of social and work-related networks,”
said Su. “The next step will be to expand our research to more organizations in U.S. as well as China in order to generalize the research to a larger global context.” To his knowledge, UTA is the only university using social network analysis to study the theoretical development, methodological applications, and practical management of knowledge sharing and hiding in organizational work teams.
The research, expected to conclude in 2018, may have a potential impact on the ways in which knowledge is communicated in organizations, and on organizational expectations and messaging about sharing knowledge.