Monday, November 27, 2017

Kristiina Herold, SCANCOR Postdoctoral Scholar, Stanford University

Jilted Outsiders: Psychological Effects of Organizational Secrecy

This research investigates the relationship between organizational secrecy and motivational and affective responses, including enjoyment, liking, and willingness to work. Management scholars have studied the effects of secrecy on firms, often taking the view of the insiders (the ones "in the know") but have given less attention to the possible downsides for individuals on the outside. Using incentive salience theory, commodity theory, and the elaboration likelihood model to provide a strong theoretical framework, this research argues that the outsiders experience a jilt, producing a condition in which motivational and affective outcomes are not simply affected individually but are driven in opposite directions. Thus, individuals may be motivated toward a certain target, but they may, at the same time, like it less. Additionally, we propose that the effect will occur not only in relation to the concealed information but will extend toward the concealing actor and the organization. Finally, these effects are suggested to accentuate for those who are highly motivated to process issue-relevant information, resulting in a potentially precarious situation for the organization.