Role of Leader-Member Exchange, Knowledge Hiding, Prosocial Motivation, And Impression Management Motivation for The Creative Potential of Employees


In organizations, interpersonal relationships play a vital role in the successful completion of work. According to researchers, interpersonal relations at the workplace are crucial for ensuring coordination among employees, effectiveness, and accomplishment of goals (Ferris et al., 2009). Similarly, a key relationship in the workplace that can lead to organisational effectiveness is the relationship between the employee and managers: called the Leader-Member-Exchange (LMX) relationship (Buengeler, Piccolo, & Locklear, 2021). This has been affirmed by the leader-member exchange theory, according to which strong and dyadic relationships are essential for achieving desired organizational outcomes such as positive job attitudes as well as job performance (Liden, Sparrowe, & Wayne, 1997; Ouerdian, Mansour, Gaha, & Gattoussi, 2021). The underlying principle of leadership exchange theory is grounded in social exchange theory. The former postulates that those involved in high-quality exchanges obtain access to resources and other advantages, which are reciprocated by exhibiting behaviours that eventually benefit the organisation and the leaders (Estel, Schulte, Spurk & Kauffeld, 2019).

At the same time, as it is important for employees to establish good relations with their managers, they also need to work to achieve high coordination and collaboration with coworkers. According to researchers, employees who develop quality relationships with their supervisors become a crucial source of information and knowledge for others, exhibiting high levels of social standing as well as eminence that, in turn, transform into high-power and influencing capacity (Salk & Brannen, 2000; Sparrowe & Liden, 2005). This is also supported by researchers, who pointed out that being an individual of information and knowledge within the social networks of the workplace and exchange of quality with leaders are two relational paths towards satisfaction and loyalty within a workplace setting (Sparrowe, Liden, Wayne, & Kraimer, 2001). In the past, a significant number of studies have suggested the benefits of quality leadership-member exchange in the context of employee performance and efficiency. However, the implications of leader-member exchange quality on the standing of people among coworkers and in relation to knowledge exchange are still questionable (Ward, Smith, House, & Hamer, 2012). Another question that arises is whether employees who develop a high-quality leader-member exchange do they also engage in knowledge exchange activities, or do they hide knowledge and do their knowledge hiding affects creativity.

Researchers, in their initial work, have referred to the position of the high leader-member exchange members as the "teacher's pet," who are mostly avoided by other members (Sias & Jablin, 1995). However, researchers noted that coworkers often look for high-quality LMX members because they have good connections with the managers (Kramer, 1995). Analysis of previous studies has revealed that there is a strong and positive correlation between LMX quality and coworker satisfaction (Kang & Jang, 2022). On the contrary, there are some researchers who have pointed out a strong negative correlation between LMX quality and coworker satisfaction (Y. Chen, Yu, & Son, 2014). This disparity in the findings implies that the research connecting LMX with employees' social position as a knowledge source among peers is indecisive and, at the same time, scarce (Reinholt, Pedersen, & Foss, 2011). To this end, the research gap is problematic for two reasons. First, the literature focussing on leader-member exchange tends to treat the relations between employees and managers as highly desirable within the workplace setting as it significantly influences the majority aspects of work life (Toscano, Zappalà, & Galanti, 2022). However, despite these initial studies emphasising the potential costs of too high LMX members in the form of how other members respond to these actors, such possible costs have not been empirically analysed.

Therefore, it has been essential to investigate the nature of the relationship between knowledge hiding and LMX quality to fully understand the insinuations of LMX quality as a relational resource for individual members (Becker, Ertz, & Büttgen, 2022). Furthermore, the leader–member exchange theory postulates that leaders mainly trust the high LMX members and typically depend on them to ensure coordination among the team (Liden, Erdogan, Wayne, & Sparrowe, 2006). In fact, these members are often sought out as a potential source of knowledge and information by co-workers (Erdogan, Bauer, & Walter, 2015; Reinholt et al., 2011). However, not many studies have affirmed this because they are not aware how the LMX status links to the knowledge hiding intentions among team members. Therefore, this study intends to analyse the correlation between LMX quality and knowledge hiding.

Along these lines, the study utilises the network generation theory as well as LMX theory as theoretical framework (Liden et al., 1997; Nebus, 2006). Network generation theory argues that it is essential to take into account certain factors in order to determine how an individual is approachable to others within the network. According to this theory, being a knowledge source in a network is a function of the anticipated value and, at the same time, the cost of a knowledge source. Both of these elements interact with the prospect that the anticipated value, as well as the cost, will actually be received or incurred. In the context of the LMX theory, it is presumed that the quality of leader–member exchange may escalate the possible price of seeking advice from a specific individual or the potential value of the same and by providing knowledge which may further effect their creative performance (Sparrowe, 2020). The study further predicts that two particular motives members can adopt showing concern for others (prosocial motivation) by offering knowledge assistance to others and only showing concern for others (impression management motivation) (Selvarajan, Singh, & Solansky, 2018), not sharing favourable knowledge will moderate the relationship between leader-member exchange and knowledge hiding by increasing the likelihood that coworkers will actually receive value from a high-LMX member and that they will suffer costs as a result, which may ultimately affect their creativity.

This particular study significantly enriches both the LMX and the knowledge literature by amalgamating the LMX theory with the network generation theory. The study analysed the unique benefits associated with the high-quality exchange of leaders with members within the workplace and the valuable findings contributed to the LMX literature. In addition, the study examined the impacts of effective leader-member exchange on attitude and behaviour of employees based on social exchange theory. The study findings indicated that the quality of the leader-member exchange is the most desired outcome due to the aspiration of the employees to be leaders. However, this finding is insufficient to elucidate when some individuals within the workplace hide knowledge from coworkers. On the other hand, the concept of knowledge hiding can be best understood by determining how the behaviors and attributes of the knowledge source offer advantages and costs to the knowledge pursuers (Bamberger, 2009; Nebus, 2006). Following this theoretical reasoning, this particular study explores the motives that make high LMX members stand out as someone whom other team members seek out as a liaison to the leaders, as well as the motives that could make them targets of avoidance due to their close proximity to the management. This particular study is one of the first comprehensive analyses of a potential drawback of leader-member exchange theory since it explicitly conceptualises the quality of LMX as both potentially beneficial and expensive to the best of our knowledge.

The findings of the study also enrich the literature concentrating on knowledge hiding by putting forward a unique predictor of knowledge hiding (Connelly, Černe, Dysvik, & Škerlavaj, 2019; He, Jiang, Xu, & Shen, 2021). Studies carried out in the past analysed personality traits as well as demographic attitudes, including age and education as predictors of knowledge hiding (Anand, Offergelt, & Anand, 2021; Connelly, Zweig, Webster, & Trougakos, 2012; Serenko & Bontis, 2016). In contrast, this study examines a novel reason that leads to the intentions of individuals to hide knowledge. In this study, gender, age, education, team size, and dyad tenure were controlled while analysing the nature of the association between the quality of the individual's relationship's relationship with the manager and the hiding of knowledge.

Additionally, two actions inspired by the Nebus model have been incorporated into this study in order to represent the behaviour signals that point out that costs and values linked to such closeness can be enjoyed by knowledge seekers (Nebus, 2006). Thus, the outcomes of this study enhance the knowledge-hiding literature by elucidating the role of human agency or the schema that the behaviour of the member and not merely the knowledge structure of the focal member. The predominant focus of this study was on behavioural and motivational correlates, which enabled researchers to identify behaviours that contribute or eradicate the social standing of a person.

Finally, motivation has been deemed important for LMX, knowledge hiding, and creativity (Babič, Černe, Connelly, Dysvik & Škerlavaj, 2019; Bogilović, Černe, & Škerlavaj, 2017; Nguyen, Nham, Froese, & Malik, 2019), we therefore, explored how pro-social motivation and impression management motivation may influence knowledge exchange and creativity in presence of quality social exchange with supervisors. In previous research, employee knowledge hiding has been found to have a detrimental effect on the creativity of employees by preventing colleagues to capitalize on the knowledge available in their work settings (Bogilović et al., 2017; Černe, Nerstad, Dysvik, & Škerlavaj, 2014). Researchers have also highlighted that knowledge hiding may also have negative consequences for creativity of the knowledge hinder (Černe et al., 2014). Drawing on the LMX theory, in this research, we found that when employees hide knowledge, they trigger reciprocal distrust; Even when they maintain quality relationships with their supervisors, knowledge hiding will negatively affect employee creativity, indicating that LMX is not always beneficial for the creativity of employees. We also contributed that the relation of LMX with knowledge hiding and employee creativity is contingent on the motivation of employees such that when the motivation of LMX members is prosocial, they are less likely to hide knowledge, which may ultimately positively affect their creativity; however, when the motivation of LMX members is impression management, they are likely to hide knowledge, which may negatively affect their creativity.

Litrature Review and Hypotheses Development

Potential Cost and Value of an LMX Member

A significant number of researchers in the past have noted that the relationship of employees with their immediate managers may significantly influence their career growth as well as organisational life (Epitropaki et al., 2021; Fatima, Jameel & Mushtaq, 2022; Wayne, Liden, Kraimer, & Graf, 1999). According to these studies, the quality of leader-member exchange affects both intrinsic and extrinsic career success and, at the same time, the, the rate of employee turnover (Epitropaki et al., 2021; Huang et al., 2021). Nevertheless, there is disagreement among the researchers about how the high-quality relationship between the employee and the the manager links to the employee's interaction with coworkers. Along these lines, researchers demonstrate a positive link between high leader-member exchange quality and employee collaboration with coworkers (Schriesheim, Castro, & Cogliser, 1999; Xie et al., 2020). On the other hand, studies conducted by other researchers have indicated that high LMX can adversely affect the coworker relationship (Bowler, Halbesleben, & Paul, 2010).

According to the theoretical underpinnings, employees may enquire about the motives behind the positive behaviours of high-leader-member exchange members. Often, coworkers respond with cynicism to such behaviours and keep themselves distant from high LMX employees. However, there is no empirical research supporting this claim. There are various forms of social networks evident in organisations, including advice and information networks and workflows. However, studies in the past, including (Adeel, Batool, Daisy, & Khan, 2022; Černe et al., 2014; Erdogan et al., 2015; Mumtaz & Rowley, 2020; Parrino, 2015) have pointed out that knowledge exchange significantly impacts the degree to which the individual is influential in the organization. These studies have further noted that employees exchange knowledge exhibit greater effectiveness, become a source of information knowledge, and have a higher creativity.

In this particular research, network generation theory has been adopted in order to best explain how the quality of the leader-member exchange is correlated with the extent to which the focal member is approached for knowledge. People measure the worth of the information they may learn from a person and compare it to the expense of doing so when deciding who to ask for assistance. Nebus makes the claim that asking someone else for guidance will result in both favourable and unfavourable outcomes or valence (Nebus, 2006). In contrast to negative valence, which refers to the expense of contacting a specific individual for an acquaintance as well as information and consists of factors like the social cost of doing so, positive valence corresponds to the value of getting in touch with a person. Positive valence incorporates factors such as the competence of an individual. In other words, individuals who are more inclined to share knowledge with coworkers have a greater tendency to become more central. In contrast, exorbitant employees with a high probability of enforcing social costs on advice seekers will turn out to be less dominant.

Leader-Member-Exchange and Pro-Social Motivation

There are several factors that shape the intention of individuals to seek knowledge from a person well equipped with the desired knowledge and information. According to Nebus (2006), the extent to which the focal actor is keen to share knowledge with others depends on the persuasion of others towards this person (Anand et al., 2021; Nebus, 2006). Individuals seeking knowledge concentrate on the cues that indicate that a focal actor will generously share the knowledge that he acquires. Scholars put forward the factors that are likely to determine the conditions under which the knowledge source will be approached to obtain the desired information and knowledge. These factors include the trustworthiness of the source and his/her history of being responsive. Taking into consideration this finding, it can be anticipated that the frequency with which an individual publicly exhibits behaviors of being considerate and attentive to the needs of coworkers will be a contingency.

Researchers have noted that high-quality LMX advice sources are frequently approached by advice seekers as they are perceived to be potential sources of information and resources (Erdogan et al., 2015; Li, Zhang, Zhu & Li, 2021). Over the years, it has been observed that individuals who are passionate about helping others are more likely to have a reputation for being available to others, and at the same time, coworkers are more relaxed while approaching these individuals to seek advice. Hence, it can be deduced that high leadership-member exchange quality should be linked to low levels of knowledge hiding for individuals who demonstrate a greater propensity to assist others. On the other hand, the LMX quality of employees who are less supportive toward coworkers is more relevant to knowledge hiding. Despite the fact that these individuals acquire valuable knowledge and information to offer a good suggestion, they also indicate through their behaviour that approaching them for this purpose would not produce fruitful results. Thus, we predict here:

Hypothesis 1: The relationship between LMX quality and knowledge hiding will be moderated by the prosocial motivation of the focal employee, such that LMX quality will be negatively related to knowledge hiding for those actors with prosocial motivation.

Leader-Member-Exchange and Impression Management Motivation

Employees who succeed in establishing strong and positive relationships with managers are regarded valuable sources of employees. However, they are referred to as costly allies. This is because high LMX members more frequently communicate with managers, which may result in knowledge seeker wariness, as any issue or shortcoming shared with these members has the potential to be disseminated to managers (Erdogan et al., 2015; Li et al., 2021). Hence, even though high-quality LMX is regarded as a valuable knowledge resource, the employees achieving it are potentially costly. Along these lines, the results of the study propose that the principal costs associated with knowledge hidden from high LMX members could be increased. As a result, coworkers are likely to be alert to behavioural signs that point to a possible knowledge source's willingness to exchange knowledge and be discrete while exchanging knowledge with them. In fact, it is believed that exercising discretion is a vital characteristic of a reliable knowledge source.

It is widely apparent that individuals in both personal and organisational settings try to impress others. This impression management can be both positive and negative. However, impression management is termed as only showing to be a good individual (Turner, Mazur, Wendel, & Winslow, 2003). Along these lines, researchers also argued that impression management is condemned in the workplace setting (Grosser, Lopez-Kidwell & Labianca, 2010); however, it is a frequently practised mode of communication. However, some researchers noted that impression management entails important functions such as peer monitoring, stress relied on, entertainment, and mode of communication (Loughry & Tosi, 2008; Ahmad, 2021; Ahmad et al., 2023). Despite the satisfactory benefits of impression management, it can be self-handicapping for those who are closely associated with the manager. This has been affirmed by the findings of some researchers, who noted that students who frequently engage in impression management were less likely to be trusted by their peers (Turner et al., 2003). Furthermore, some researchers deduced that seeking knowledge from a person who gossips continuously would be risky (Kurland & Pelled, 2000). This is due to the fact that those who have a propensity for impression management will be judged as being less discrete and more likely to betray the knowledge seeker. Therefore, this study anticipates that the quality of LMX should have a positive relationship with the concealment of knowledge for those actors with motivation for impression management.

Hypothesis 2: The relationship between LMX quality and knowledge hiding will be moderated by the impression management motivation of the focal employee, such that LMX quality will be positively related to knowledge hiding for those actors with impression motivation.

Leader-Member-Exchange, Pro-Social Motivation, and Impression Management Motivation

It is anticipated that the extent to which a worker can gain a quality exchange with their supervisors and knowledge hiding will be collectively determined by his motivation to propensity to assist others, his quality of LMX, and his motivation to just maintain an impression. The resulting group of knowledge hiding providers will include individuals who are eager to assist others, who have substantial knowledge, and who are not too costly to obtain knowledge. According to the framework developed, cost, as well as value, must interact with factors that boost the chances of actors practically attaining value or incurring costs (Nebus, 2006). Hence, it can be put forward that the eventual relationship between knowledge hiding and LMX quality will be predicted by prosocial motivation and impression management motivation.

Hypothesis 3: There will be a three-way interaction between LMX quality, prosocial motivation, and impression management motivation such that the relationship between LMX and knowledge hiding will be negative only when prosocial motivation is high and impression management motivation is low.

Knowledge Hiding and Creativity of Employees

According to creativity scholars, the degree to which individuals develop their proficiency and knowledge in a specific area of interest significantly influences the output of creative ideas (Amabile, 1988; Amabile & Pillemer, 2012). In fact, it is the predominant driver of creativity in the workplace. Researchers also noted that these skills enable individuals to uniquely combine existing information as well as newly generated ideas (Acar, Tarakci, & Van Knippenberg, 2019; Anderson, Potočnik, & Zhou, 2014). In a different context, amalgamation of vast work experience, technical skills, and factual knowledge within the domain of interest enables employees to identify complexities and subsequently devise a set of optimal solutions. Along these lines, a wide array of solutions leads to the prevalence of numerous alternatives for developing something novel. Furthermore, the researchers opined that employees who constantly engage in efforts to improve their skills have a greater propensity to acquire a wide range of knowledge and greater proficiencies (Ambrose, 2023; El-Kassar, Dagher, Lythreatis & Azakir, 2022; Khan, Malik & Shahzad, 2022; Zhang & Bartol, 2010). This, in turn, augments the critical thinking of the employees, which is essential for introducing creative solutions to the issues and enhancing the current processes. This has been affirmed by researchers in the following quote: “Invention is little more than a new combination of those images, which have been previously gathered and deposited in the memory (Lobert, 1993). Who has laid up no material can produce no combination”. Consequently, creativity is very much dependent on information and knowledge sharing and thus may be crucially influenced by knowledge hiding (Castaneda & Cuellar, 2020; Guo, Brown, & Zhang, 2022; Wolor, Dania, Suherdi, Nurkhin, & Ardiansyah, 2022).

Knowledge reduction will decrease the ability of individuals to generate creative ideas (Jahanzeb, Fatima, Bouckenooghe & Bashir, 2019; Kremer, Villamor, & Aguinis, 2019) and may critically affect the potential to generate creative ideas for their groups/organisations. The creativity of an employee is largely dependent on knowledge; when the creative individual needs to have a certain level of prior knowledge about the task at hand (Simonton, 2018). Thus, hiding knowledge may affect their potential to generate creative ideas by preventing them from obtaining new knowledge while having their prior knowledge base intact (Reiter-Palmon & Illies, 2004). This may have a detrimental effect on the context in which creativity is needed by the organisation, explaining why LMX members are now always creative and why closeness to the boss is not beneficial to their creative potential (Adeel et al., 2022; C. Chen Feng, Liu, & Yao, 2021; Lu, Bartol, Venkataramani, Zheng, & Liu, 2019). Therefore, we argue here that the very same individual who hides knowledge at work will also experience a reduction in his own creativity. Thus, we predict here that the indirect effect of the quality of exchange relationship on the creativity of employees through knowledge hiding is positive when knowledge hiding is low and negative when knowledge hiding is high. Formally:

Hypothesis 4: LMX has an indirect effect on employee creativity through knowledge hiding; the indirect effect is positive when knowledge hiding is at low levels and negative when knowledge hiding is at high levels.

The proposed relationships are also shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1.Research Model

Sample and Data Collection

The sample of this research included 413 subordinates and their respective 57 supervisors working in a pharmaceutical organisation operating in Jakarta, Indonesia. With the approval of management, we discussed the scope, significance, and purpose of this research with all participants in the production, sales, marketing, and R&D departments in a combined meeting. There were a total of 673 participants in the meetings; we distributed survey questions to the participants, and 543 agreed to participate and responded to our survey. Respondents were asked about LMX quality, knowledge hiding, and all control variables at time1. We also discussed the scope, significance, and purpose of this research with the supervisors in a separate meeting. Supervisor data was collected for employee creativity at time 2 (two weeks after the subordinate sample); data for the prosocial motivation of the subordinates and the motivation for impression management were also collected at time 2. After deleting incomplete and mismatched data, our final qualified sample consisted of 413 subordinates and their respective 57 supervisors. In the final qualified sample, 62 % were male, and 38 % were female; the average age was 24.58 years; the average team size was 4.05; and the average dyad tenure was 4.27 years.


Leader-Member-Exchange (LMX)

Leader-member exchange (LMX) was measured with seven items on a five-point Likert-type scale (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995; Schaubroeck & Lam, 2002). The subordinates were asked to provide their response regarding the quality of their relationships with their respective supervisors. Sample items include 'How would you characterise your working relationship with your leader?' and 'How well does your leader understand your job problems and needs?' Scale elements range from (1 = 'extremely ineffective', 5 = 'extremely effective'). The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.83.

Knowledge Hiding

Knowledge hiding was measured with twelve items on a five-point Likert-type scale (Connelly et al., 2012). Subordinates were asked to provide their response on the knowledge hiding scale. Sample items include 'At work, I pretend that I didn't know what he was talking about' and 'At work, I agreed to help him but never really intended to' The scale items range from (1= “strongly disagree”, 5= “strongly agree”). The Cronbach’s alpha was 0.78.

Employee Creativity

Employee creativity was measured with a nine-item, five-point Likert-type scale (Tierney, Farmer, & Graen, 1999). Supervisors were asked to provide their responses to each of the employees who reported directly to them. Sample elements include 'The focal employee demonstrated originality in his work' and 'The focal employee generating ideas revolutionary for our field.' The items on the scale range from (1= “strongly disagree”, to 5= “strongly agree” ). Cronbach's alpha was 0.87.

Pro-Social Motivation

Prosocial motivation was measured with five items, a five-point Likert-type scale (Grant & Sumanth, 2009). Subordinates were asked to respond on the prosocial motivation scale. Sample items include 'I get energized working on tasks that have the potential to benefit others.' The items on the scale range from (1= “strongly disagree” to 5= “strongly agree”). Cronbach’s alpha was 0.81.

Motivation for Impression Management

Prosocial motivation was measured with a five-item, five-point Likert-type scale (Allen & Rush, 1998; Lam, Huang, & Snape, 2007). Subordinates were asked to provide their response to the impression management motivation scale. Sample items include 'I want to enhance my image' and 'I want to build favours for later exchange.' The items on the scale range from (1= “strongly disagree” to 5= “strongly agree”). Cronbach's alpha was 0.74.

Control Variables

In this research, we controlled for subordinate gender, age, and education. We also controlled for team size and average dyad tenure, which can affect knowledge hiding, creativity, and quality of exchange relationship with supervisors (Fagenson-Eland, Marks, & Amendola, 1997; Nahrgang & Seo, 2015; Pearce & Herbik, 2004). Researchers have shown that interval team dynamics may be affected by the number of individuals working together in a team (Pearce & Herbik, 2004). Additionally, the average of a dyad tenure- the length of the quality of the exchange relationship between a supervisor and a subordinate affects work perceptions (Fagenson-Eland et al., 1997), and the quality of the relationship (Nahrgang & Seo, 2015).


The descriptive statistics and the zero-order correlation among the study variables are presented in Table 1.

Confirmatory Factor Analyses

Before analysing the main study variables, to evaluate the discriminant validity among the study variables, we performed a confirmatory factor analysis with Mplus. We modelled item-level indicators that depicted a good fit of our research data χ 2 = 1835.031 (654), p < .01; CFI = 0.96; TLI = 0.93; RMSEA = 0.06 as a comparison with the other alternative models.

Hypotheses Testing

To test the hypotheses of this research, we used Mplus. We centred on the grand mean of all study variables, including the interaction terms (Aiken, West, & Reno, 1991; Hofmann & Gavin, 1998). The regression results are presented in Table 2, and the mediated moderation results are presented in Table 3. Following the steps presented in the investigation, we performed hierarchical regression analysis for both regression results and mediated moderation. As shown in Table 2 Model 2, the interaction of LMX and prosocial motivation had a negative significant effect on knowledge hiding (β= -0.248, p< 0.10). The interaction results are also presented in Figure 2; The results show that the intention to hide knowledge increases for those with low prosocial motivation and decreases otherwise. As shown in Table 2-model 3, the interaction of LMX and impression management motivation positively affected knowledge hiding (β= 0.047, p< 0.10). The interaction results are also presented in Figure 3; the results show that the intention to hide knowledge increases for those with high motivation to manage the impression and decreases otherwise. The three-way interaction of LMX, impression management motivation, and prosocial motivation is shown in Table 2 model 4; the results showed a positive effect of the three-way interaction of LMX, impression management motivation, and prosocial motivation on knowledge hiding (β= 0.083, p< 0.10). The interaction results are also shown in Figure 4; The results show that the intention to hide knowledge increases for those with low prosocial motivation and high impression management motivation and decreases otherwise.

Furthermore, the results of mediated moderation are presented in Table 3; The results of Table 3 model 1 show that the interaction of LMX and prosocial motivation (β= 0.18, p< 0.10, Δ R2 = 0.02) and the interaction of LMX and impression management motivation (β= -0.21, p< 0.05, Δ R2 = 0.02) both had significant effects on employee creativity, fulfilling the first requirement of mediated moderation. Next, as presented in Table 3, model 2, LMX was positively related to knowledge hiding (β= 0.139, p< 0.10, Δ R2 = 0.02), fulfilling the second requirement of mediated moderation. Furthermore, the interaction of LMX and prosocial motivation (β= 0.15, p< 0.10, Δ R2 = 0.02) and the interaction of LMX and impression management motivation (β= -0.17, p< 0.05, Δ R2 = 0.02) both had significant effects on knowledge concealment.

Figure 2.Interaction of LMX and Pro-Social Motivation

Figure 3.Interaction of LMX and Motivation to increase perception.

Figure 4.3-way interaction of LMX, impression management motivation and social motivation.

Finally, as shown in Table 3 Model 3, knowledge hiding showed a significant positive effect on employee creativity (β= 0.56, p< 0.01, Δ R2 = 0.31), meeting the third requirement of mediated moderation; however, the interaction of LMX and prosocial motivation (β= 0.06, n.s, Δ R2 = 0.01) and the interaction of LMX and impression management motivation (β= -0.12, n.s, Δ R2 = 0.01) are no longer significant, meeting the fourth and final requirement of mediated moderation. These results suggest that knowledge hiding completely mediated the interaction effects of LMX and prosocial motivation and the interaction of LMX and impression management motivation on employees' creative performance.

Variable Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1. Gender 0.51 0.32
2. Age 24.58 3.14 0.121
3. Education 2.31 0.65 -0.232 0.124
4. Team size 4.05 2.42 0.471 0.252* -0.018
5. Dyad tenure 4.27 3.24 0.257* 0.513* 0.504 0.125
6. LMX 4.01 0.21 -0.519 -0.306 -0.327 0.214* 0.092*
7. KH 4.32 0.76 0.524 0.091* 0.106 0.076* 0.125 0.191
8. PM 3.52 0.92 0.142 0.129 0.098* 0.097 0.413 0.097 -0.271
9. IMM 4.18 0.82 0.016 0.091 0.216 0.105 0.451 -0.097 0.081 0.098
10. EC 3.97 0.74 0.126 0.116 0.121 0.091 0.147 0.251* 0.087 0.176 -0.124
Note. N = 413. Gender was coded as 0 = Female, 1 = Male. Education was coded as 1= College Graduate, 2 = Bachelor's Degree, 3=Master Degree.*p < .10. **p < .05. ***p < .01LMX: Leader-Member Exchange, KH: Knowledge Hiding, PM: Pro-social Motivation, IMM: Impression management motivation., EC: Employee creativity
Table 1.Means, Standard Deviation, and Correlation among study variables.Source: Calculated by the author.
Predictor Model 1 Knowledge Hiding Model 2 Knowledge Hiding Model 3 Knowledge Hiding Model 4 Knowledge Hiding
Estimate t Estimate t Estimate T Estimate t
Control Variables
Gender 0.203 1.488 0.126 1.501 0.193 1.521 0.214 1.534
Age -0.176 1.638 -0.106 1.651 -0.112 1.637 -0.132 1.423
Education -0.875 1.860 -0.775 1.677 -0.864 1.629 -0.653 1.709
Team size 0.008* -1.971 0.006 1.881 0.007 1.902 0.012 1.923
Dyad Tenure 0.242 -0.840 0.327 0.823 0.313 0.803 0.236 0.827
Independent variable
LMX 0.141* 2.048 0.727 1.213 0.231 0.981 -0.256 0.112
Moderating Variable
Pro-social Motivation 0.879 1.682 0.051 0.987
IMM 0.292 1.212 0.09 1.014
Interaction Effects
LMX X PM -0.248* 2.178 -0.421* 1.987
LMX X IMM 0.047* 2.265 0.310 1.675
PM X IMM -0.025 1.232
LMX X PM X IMM 0.083* 2.321
Δ χ 2 (Δdf) 34.12(7)** 36.42(7)** 38.76(11)** 41.45(13)**
Δ R2 0.32 0.37 0.46 0.58
Note. N = 413. Gender was coded as 0 = Female, 1 = Male. Education was coded as 1= College Graduate, 2 = Bachelor's Degree, 3=Master Degree.*p < .10. **p < .05. ***p < .01LMX: Leader-Member Exchange, KH: Knowledge Hiding, PM: Pro-social Motivation, IMM: Impression management motivation., EC: Employee creativity
Table 2.Regression analysis for the interactive effect of LMX and motives toward Knowledge Hiding.Source: Calculated by the author.
Predictor Model 1 Employee Creativity Model 2 Knowledge Hiding Model 3 Employee Creativity
Estimate t Estimate t Estimate T
Independent variable
LMX 0.141* 2.048 0.139* 2.12 0.12 1.69
Δ R2 0.02* 0.02* 0.01
Moderating Variable 0.13 1.60 0.07 1.04 0.08 1.16
Pro-social Motivation
Impression Management Motivation -0.12 -1.43 -0.13 -1.40 -0.06 -0.69
Δ R2 0.01 0.01 0.01
Interaction Effects
LMX X PM 0.18 2.12* 0.15 2.19* 0.06 0.89
LMX X IMM -0.21 -2.56** -0.17 -2.38** -0.12 -1.42
LMX X PM X IMM 0.17 2.09*
Δ R2 0.02* 0.02* 0.01
Mediating Variable
Knowledge Hiding 0.56 8.56***
Δ R2 0.31***
Δ χ 2 (Δdf) 27.26 (6)** 31.64 (10)** 31.72 (8)**
Δ R2 0.46 0.42 0.38
Note. N = 413. Gender was coded as 0 = Female, 1 = Male. Education was coded as 1= College Graduate, 2 = Bachelor's Degree, 3=Master Degree.*p < .10. **p < .05. ***p < .01LMX: Leader-Member Exchange, KH: Knowledge Hiding, PM: Pro-social Motivation, IMM: Motivation for impression management, CE: Employee creativity
Table 3.Mediated moderation analysis results.Source: Calculated by the author.

Theoretical Contributions

This research has contributed to creativity research; recent research on organisational creativity has emphasised the importance of an environment favourable for individual creativity (Amabile, 1983; Woodman, Sawyer, & Griffin, 1993; Zhou, Hirst, & Shipton, 2012), including an environment conducive for knowledge exchange (Perry-Smith, 2006; Perry-Smith & Shalley, 2003). Researchers have argued that knowledge hiding is very different from not sharing knowledge, as in addition to the lack of knowledge sharing, knowledge hiding intends to withhold knowledge that others need at work (Connelly et al., 2012). However, limited research has paid attention to the individual level of knowledge hiding and its impact on creativity. This omission in research is curious, as knowledge-hiding research can explain the failure of creativity enhancement initiatives of organisations beyond the lack of knowledge sharing. Additionally, LMX research has focused primarily on the positive impact of LMX on the creative potential of employees. We found that LMX may have a negative side, as those in the quality exchange relationship with the supervisors may hide the knowledge of others, which may affect the creative potential of employees. Our research also contributes to the literature on creativity by explaining knowledge hiding and its impact on the creativity of employees. With this research, we have shown that interpersonal mechanisms in general and LMX in particular will not always be beneficial for the exchange of knowledge and creativity of employees. We also contributed to creativity research by introducing prosocial motivation and impression management motivation as having a moderating role in knowledge hiding and the creativity of employees. Our research revealed that the motivation of a focal employee overrides the knowledge hiding underlying social exchange, knowledge hiding, and creativity relationships. Motivation of focal employees influences the social exchange patterns by affecting knowledge hiding among coworkers, thereby enhancing/ suppressing their creativity.

Employees must form quality relationships on the job to remain effective and attached to the organisation (Toscano et al., 2022; Wang & Hollenbeck, 2019). This research analysed the dynamics of the relationship between the quality of leader-member exchange and knowledge hiding. According to scholars, the quality of leader-member exchange plays a noteworthy role in collaboration and closeness among coworkers (Sias & Jablin, 1995). To offer empirical support to this proposition, this research combined the leader-member exchange theory with network generation theory (Nebus, 2006). The results of the research demonstrated that there is a positive correlation between the quality of LMX and the hiding of knowledge, and the strength of this relationship depends on prosocial motivation. On the other hand, in situations where focal members show minimum interest in assisting team members, a positive association was found between LMX quality and knowledge hiding. These findings clearly imply that for employees who have a history of noncooperative behaviour, their quality of becoming advice sources turns out to be extraneous to their knowledge exchange. The study findings also revealed that the the impression management motive acts as a moderator in a relationship between the quality of the quality of LMX and the concealment of knowledge. To this end, the results underscored that the positive relationship between both variables is only apparent when the actors reflect a low level of impression management motivations and, at the same time, high levels of prosocial motivation about others.

Therefore, employees who are supportive and modest with their coworkers are more likely to attain benefits from the high LMX position in the form of receiving paramount levels of knowledge and creativity (Adeel et al., 2022; Reiter-Palmon & Illies, 2004; Zhang & Bartol, 2010). However, a contradictory finding of the investigation was that when focal actors were uncooperative, they were isolated from team members in such such a way that higher LMX led to higher hiding of hiding of knowledge and lower creativity. Studies carried out in the past, including (Dulebohn, Bommer, Liden, Brouer, & Ferris, 2012), have recognised the strategic importance for the employees of establishing a high-quality relationship with the leaders. In a similar vein, the scholars (Sias & Jablin, 1995), focussing on the leader-member exchange theory, have shed light on the incongruity between forming strong bonds with leaders and having good relationships with colleagues in a workplace setting. This is because high LMX relationships are increasingly apparent and noticeable (Buengeler et al., 2021; Y. Chen et al., 2014; Epitropaki et al., 2021). Often, LMX members are referred to 'pets of the teacher's (Kramer, 1995; Wang & Hollenbeck, 2019).'Consequently, the closeness of the employee to the leader can make him distant from coworkers. Therefore, the investigation into this matter has become crucial in recent times due to the fact that existing LMX researchers have not evaluated the social costs associated with the LMX relationships.

Practical Contributions

Active members of the team have greater opportunities to acquire knowledge within work groups of the social networks (Babič et al., 2019; Castaneda & Cuellar, 2020). The outcomes of this study proposed that employees who desire to manage their resources effectively must invest in establishing high-quality relationships with the managers. Strong bonds with managers in the workplace are not only significant to coworkers but also present tangible as well as intangible benefits, resources, and information (Fatima et al., 2022; Nahrgang & Seo, 2015; Reinholt et al., 2011; Schriesheim et al., 1999). Furthermore, high LMX employees can develop into liaisons with managers who are frequently consulted by coworkers for advice and information (Erdogan et al., 2015). However, the study findings indicated that the formation of high-quality relationships with managers does not essentially guarantee that the employee can participate in knowledge exchange and is also sought out by co-workers as a source of knowledge and advice (Acar et al., 2019; Cerne et al., 2014; Reiter-Palmon & Illies, 2004). The results of the study showed that team members are more inclined to get suggestions from local actors, which have a greater probability of sharing their value and are less costly for advice seekers. Therefore, it appears that focal actors will also need to consider what signals they send to their colleagues through their actions. In particular, a person will become more appealing as a target of information-seeking attempts if they frequently aid their coworkers. Yet, if they frequently show impression management motives about others, they will become more repulsive.

Limitations and Future Research Directions

The study offered strong theoretical justifications to support that the quality of leader-member exchange would pave the way for employees' knowledge hiding and creativity (Anand et al., 2021; Černe et al., 2014; Hou, 2023). However, the study's design limited the researchers' capacity to test the temporal order of variables and the conditions under which it would be reasonable for the knowledge hidden to foster LMX. Studies focussing on the leader-member exchange have suggested that LMX quality establishes quickly as soon as leaders and employees start working together (Buengeler et al., 2021). However, an alternate interpretation of the study's findings would be that the manager's relationships improve when the employees do not exchange every piece of information/ knowledge they have provided and that the workers sought out advice are discreet and supportive. Moreover, there is also the possibility that those who are creative are seen as potential LMX members. Therefore, it is suggested that studies in the future should explore directionality by temporally splitting knowledge, hiding creativity and LMX, and gathering data at different points in time.

It would be vital to analyse these relationships longitudinally; for instance, the quality of leader-member exchange may, in fact, result in decreasing levels of knowledge hiding. However, in the presence of a new leader, some workers may not exercise their knowledge exchange due to the change in comfort level and relationship with the new manager compared to the former manager. It is further noted that in some situations, focal actors can constitute a threat to new managers, such as a diverse source of influence and power that can lead to a decrease in the quality of LMX and, at the same time, a decrease in knowledge exchange within the network. To put it another way, tracking these connections over time should yield a more dynamic picture of the landscape of the connection between leader-member exchange quality and knowledge hiding, and it, therefore, offers a promising direction for further study.

The second limitation of the study was linked to the context in which the research was executed. Along these lines, the focus and selection of this study setting is unclear if the conclusions of the study can be generalised to other cultures or populations. The findings of similar studies conducted in the past have illustrated that the quality of LMX is crucial in organisational settings in different cultures, and the construct's relations to the results are similar to the ones observed within the Western culture (Pellegrini & Scandura, 2006). Moreover, the retail, pharmaceutical, financing, information technology, and services industries are crucial sources of employment across the globe. Therefore, these sectors are the main attraction of research carried out in the field of business and management.

The third limitation of the research is linked to the Nebus model, which put forward that the accessibility of the cost and value will serve as the moderators of the cost and value (Nebus, 2006). To illustrate this accessibility, the researchers used the propensity to assist others and the impressions as motivational modifiers. Nevertheless, the researchers acknowledge that there are other moderators besides these two that might increase the possibility that one will either get a value or pay for it. According to their personality, agreeability, or whether or not they have a position that necessitates sharing their information, high LMX members, for instance, could be more disposed to do so with knowledge seekers. Furthermore, the social costs allied with getting information from high LMX employees may worsen when leaders acquire greater authority within the organisation or when the tasks are riskier in nature, with the negative impacts of not receiving information. Although this particular research endeavoured to determine how workers can leverage their knowledge exchange through their own network, the Nebus model can guide future researchers in determining task, structural, and personality-related moderators. Therefore, studies in the future can focus on these aspects.