What one feels and what one knows: The influence of emotions on knowledge sharing

B.J. van den Hooff, A.P. Schouten, S. Simonovski

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: This paper aims to provide theoretical and empirical insight into the relationship between emotions and knowledge sharing. Design/methodology/approach: Hypotheses concerning the influence of pride and empathy on knowledge sharing attitudes and intentions are developed, based on prior research. The hypotheses were tested by means of a survey within the Dutch branch of a global IT organization, in which respondents (n = 252) were asked to evaluate one of four different scenarios, invoking either pride or empathy. Respondents were asked their attitude and intention towards knowledge sharing in the situation sketched in the scenario. Findings: Pride and empathy were found to affect eagerness and willingness to share knowledge. Furthermore, these emotions also influenced knowledge sharing intentions, partly mediated by eagerness and willingness. Both eagerness and willingness mediate the relationship between pride and knowledge sharing intention, whereas only willingness turned out to mediate the relationship between empathy and knowledge sharing. Research limitations/implications: An important limitation is that the scenarios which were used were hypothetical. A suggestion for further research is to conduct a lab experiment (for instance, using a role play situation) in which emotions are manipulated in an interactive setting. Originality/value: Emotions have not been related to knowledge sharing in a systematic way before. By connecting these two areas of research, this study provides new interdisciplinary insights. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-158
JournalJournal of Knowledge Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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