Date of Conferral

1-1-2011

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

David Gould

Abstract

The importance of good communications between team members has been well documented. Yet previous studies on communications between team members have neglected to focus on reasons for information withholding between people working on teams. The purpose of this case study of 16 engineers and 6 educators was to understand why team members withhold information when working together. A convenience sample was selected from a software engineering organization. Collective intelligence theory in a modern communications environment was used as the theoretical foundation. This theory posits that the synergy of full group collaboration results in enhanced performance and the spread of new ideas. The exploratory research questions addressed in this study were designed to understand how employees decide what information to withhold when participating on teams; how withholding information is influenced by critical thinking, creativity, positions on a team, and type of employee; and the effects of information withholding. Collected data from online interviews were transcribed and validated via member checks, coded using open and axial coding, and analyzed. Seven themes were found: insecurity, gate keeping, discrimination, personality, creativity, organizational structure, and team management. The results of this study may provide information that can help managers understand employees' experiences with, reactions to, and opinions about information withholding and provide strategies to create an environment in which team members do not withhold information from each other, thus improving or enhancing positive social change in organizations.