Building trust through knowledge sharing: Implications for incentive system design

Katlijn Haesebrouck*, Alexandra Van den Abbeele, Michael Williamson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)

Abstract

We examine whether knowledge sharing can enhance the efficacy of implicit, trust-based incentives. Using a stark laboratory experiment, we find support for theory suggesting that individuals believe that their knowledge is an important part of their identity, making it costly to share, but facilitating greater trust that recipients of this knowledge will reciprocate with future rewards. Utilizing participants with substantial work experience, results from additional scenario-based experiments demonstrate practical implications of this theory. Collectively, the results from our experiments show that individuals help others less when the help conveys personal knowledge relative to when it does not absent the prospect of rewards, but more when they can expect future rewards (i.e., with implicit incentives). Importantly, knowledge sharing increases the efficacy of implicit incentives more when they are determined by the help recipient relative to someone else (e.g., a supervisor). Collectively, we contribute to a better understanding of incentive systems designed to promote knowledge sharing in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101241
Number of pages16
JournalAccounting Organizations and Society
Volume93
Early online date8 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Helping behavior
  • Implicit incentives
  • Trust
  • knowledge sharing
  • CONFLICT
  • DECISION
  • TIES
  • BEHAVIOR
  • MERE OWNERSHIP
  • Knowledge sharing
  • INFORMATION EXCHANGE
  • GENDER
  • PREFERENCE
  • ALTRUISM

Cite this