Leader–member exchange, organizational identification, and knowledge hiding: The moderating role of relative leader–member exchange

Hongdan Zhao, Weiwei Liu, Jie Li*, Xiaoyu Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

176 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we sought to identify a new interpersonal antecedent of knowledge hiding, namely, leader–member exchange (LMX). Drawing on the group engagement model (an extension of social identity theory within the group/organization context), we built a theoretical model linking LMX and knowledge hiding. This model focuses on the mediating role of organizational identification and the moderating role of relative LMX in influencing the mediation. Using two time-lagged studies (Study 1: n = 317; Study 2: n = 248) conducted in China, we examined our research model. Study 1 provided support for the proposed hypotheses for evasive hiding and playing dumb but not for rationalized hiding. Study 2 replicated and extended our findings. Results revealed that (a) LMX was negatively related to evasive hiding and playing dumb but not to rationalized hiding; (b) organizational identification mediated the influence of LMX on evasive hiding and playing dumb but not on rationalized hiding; and (c) relative LMX not only moderated the relationship between LMX and organizational identification but also reinforced the indirect effect of LMX on evasive hiding and playing dumb but not on rationalized hiding (via organizational identification). The implications, limitations, and future research directions are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)834-848
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • LMX
  • knowledge hiding
  • knowledge sharing
  • organizational identification
  • relative LMX

Cite this