Do Your Colleagues Tell You Everything?

Maybe not, according to an article in the new Winter 2010 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review.  In "How Reputation Affects Knowledge Sharing Among Colleagues,"  Prescott C. Ensign and Louis Hébert report results from a study of knowledge-sharing with coworkers among R&D scientists in pharmaceutical companies:

"Interestingly, the study findings suggest that even among scientists who work for the same company, knowledge is not always shared freely. Instead, a potential knowledge source's assessment of a knowledge seeker's reputation affected whether or not information was offered."

 A few other key findings from the research: R&D workers, on the whole, remember prior knowledge exchanges, and those perceived as having taken more than given are less likely to receive information. And, when it comes to knowledge-sharing with a coworker, scientists are most likely to share know-how that is unique and important.