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Organisational Information And Knowledge Sharing: Uncovering Mediating Effects Of Perceived Trustworthiness Using The PROCESS Approach

M. Max Evans, Ilja Frissen, Anthony K. P. Wensley

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Many organisations are confronted with challenges in getting employees to effectively participate in information and knowledge sharing (IKS). Further, IKS is embedded in multifaceted social contexts, which are influenced by several different social and cognitive factors. This study is in support of the hypothesis that perceived trustworthiness is widely implicated as a mediating factor between those social–cognitive factors and IKS. Previous work, however, uncovered only a handful of such mediating effects. It is argued here that the paucity may have been due to limitations of the statistical methods. This study employs PROCESS, a more powerful current method for mediation analysis in an attempt to uncover previously hidden relationships. Analyses were performed on data collected from 275 knowledge workers (legal professionals and paralegals) engaged in shared legal project work, at one of Canada’s largest multijurisdictional law firms. Social–cognitive factors that were considered were shared language, shared vision, tie strength, age/gender/educational homophily and relationship length. IKS outcomes were willingness to share, willingness to use and perceived receipt of useful information/knowledge. Consistent with the hypothesis, the more powerful method revealed a large number of significant mediating effects of perceived trustworthiness. Out of possible 112 simple mediation models, 62 were significant, 44 of which had been previously undiscovered. The results highlight the importance of trust as well as the power of current methods for mediation analysis and serve as a strong argument for their use. The paper concludes with implications for research and practice.