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Who's Really Sharing? Effects of Social and Expert Status on Knowledge Exchange Within Groups



This study investigated the effects of social status and perceived expertise on the emphasis of unique and shared knowledge within functionally heterogeneous groups. While perceived expertise did not increase the individual's emphasis of their own unique knowledge, perceived experts were more likely than nonexperts to emphasize shared knowledge and other member's unique knowledge contributions. Additionally, socially isolated members participated more in discussions and emphasized more of their unique knowledge than did socially connected members. While unique knowledge contributions increased the positive perception of social isolates, similar unique knowledge contributions decreased the positive perception of socially connected members. Finally, socially connected group members gave greater attention to the unique knowledge contributions of the socially isolated member than to the contributions of their socially connected other, but more favorably evaluated members to whom they were more favorably connected than those to whom they were not. We discuss the implications of our findings for managing knowledge exchange within diverse groups.

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