Knowledge Management Research & Practice

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 144–149 | Cite as

Knowledge withholding: psychological hindrance to the innovation diffusion within an organisation

  • Seung-Wan Kang


The transfer of innovation between organisational members has recently drawn attention from both academia and business because corporate competitiveness is linked directly to the diffusion of innovation through an organisation. As the spread of innovation within an organisation depends on the efficient transfer of knowledge between members, this study focuses on the concept of knowledge withholding, which is known to disrupt this transfer. First, Herzberg’s two-factor theory is used to prove that knowledge sharing and withholding are separate concepts and to explain the difference between them. Second, past studies on knowledge management are shown to have overlooked knowledge withholding in favour of knowledge sharing, leading to a paucity of information on the former. Third, knowledge withholding is classified into two separate behaviours: the intentional hiding and the unintentional hoarding of knowledge. Finally, four territorial behaviours related to knowledge withholding are summarised in order to suggest areas of future study.


knowledge withholding knowledge sharing knowledge transfer knowledge management practice innovation Herzberg’s two-factor theory 


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Copyright information

© Operational Research Society Ltd. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Korea UniversitySejong CityRepublic of Korea

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