Purpose: This paper investigates the relationships between responsible leadership and employees' knowledge sharing behavior and performance in the healthcare sector. The present study provides deeper insights into those relationships by uncovering the mechanisms through which relational and ethical dimensions of responsible leadership influence knowledge sharing outcomes. Drawing on the social exchange theory, this study examines the mediating role of trust in the leader and leadership support. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected from 445 healthcare professionals in Pakistan. Structural equation modeling was employed to analyze the data. Findings: The study findings revealed that responsible leaders enhance knowledge worker performance and knowledge sharing behavior through enhancing trusting relationships with followers and providing support. Furthermore, the authors investigated the moderating role of goal orientation, and the results showed that the effect of responsible leadership on knowledge worker performance was stronger for highly goal-oriented employees. Practical implications: This research suggests that human resource managers interested in fostering knowledge sharing behaviors, must focus on cultivating responsible leadership behavior within their organizations. Furthermore, this study findings propose that HRM practices should foster employee goal orientation in order to enhance knowledge workers' performance. Originality/value: This study makes a novel contribution to the literature by shifting the research focus from the traditional view of leadership to a leadership style more responsive to the reciprocity nature of the relationships between employees and leaders. By shifting the focus to a relational-ethical based leadership style, the current study was able to fully uncover the underlying mechanisms linking responsible leadership to knowledge sharing outcomes.
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