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Monday, May 10, 2010

Knowledge Worker Management

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Future Knowledge Worker Management - From Work-For-Hire to Intellectual Capital Co-Ownership

Knowledge Worker


Last 50 years caused a great transformation in the landscape industry. The emphasis shifts from the manager of manufacturing technology and management to service and ultimately to knowledge management. The Internet has revolutionized the way business is done across borders and cultures and also to make knowledge easily available. Employers now have a way to reach markets around the world with little cost. This puts them in a stronger position because the new lower capital requirements to build a business and has given symmetry more bargaining power for knowledge workers than in the past. Knowledge workers are different and therefore must be managed differently because they tend to be more loyal to their profession rather than the organizations they work. One of the main challenges for human resource managers apart from recruiting and retaining knowledge workers is to find ways to motivate them. This paper was refused employment settings-for-hire and not supporting the ownership of knowledge sharing scenario that generally can produce better results for all stakeholders.


Rapid technological advances of the 20th century and major changes in global political landscape has dramatically changed the environment for any organization today. Before and shortly after World War II (WWII) managerial focus mainly on manufacturing efficiency, but a row to open international markets that lead to economic globalization organizations are faced with issues far more complex, such as managing the human factor, different cultures, and rapid increase in competition (Wren, 2005). Although the shift from manufacturing to service excellence and excellence from a national focus to the global front began after World War II, the adaptation of management to alter these forces is still an ongoing process.

Some coping mechanisms used by managers to cope with new risks and dynamics of the current complex environment of organizations. Some coping mechanisms have failed and some have worked in the past but will not continue to work in the future because the underlying assumptions are no longer valued. Diversification, for example, has long been touted as a promising tool of risk management, but the current economic crisis and the failure of dozens of financial institutions around the world are an indication that there may be too much reliance on diversification after all. Drucker (2006) suggest that organizations can only be effective if they focus on one task only. With diversification, as stated by Drucker, organizational performance capacity is destroyed. Possible explanations for conflicting results is larger at the same switching costs between activities within the organization and increased administrative overhead to manage multiple businesses.

As organizations become more complex environment, the organization responded by collecting more information. Drucker (2006) criticized, however, that companies most often used simply to track the basic information of the past rather than future actions on it. Today the sheer volume of information collected and conclusions from that image quality is an additional challenge to management. Rather than simply responding to information, organizations must be designed around tomorrow information and create value and wealth in order to survive (2006). One of the important information should continue to monitor the organization is a set of basic assumptions on which the organization has been built.

Drucker (2006) also asserted that the business crisis often comes from the fact that the organization is built on assumptions that no longer hold true. Business, then, need to constantly reaffirm that their assumptions are still correct and revise their internal structure to accommodate changes in their environment has become necessary. Intelligent forms of adaptation that Drucker favors can be interpreted as a form of critical thinking and self-awareness organizations.

As the great thinkers in the field of management consulting and practice, Drucker to realize that the human factor has become more important than ever. Because the transition from touch labor for knowledge workers, the relationship between management and labor need to change from command-to-control and leadership by empowering employees. Drucker's main criticism is that managers tend to be too isolated from their labor and do not spend enough time communicating with employees. Failure to listen to employees is why managers have trouble to build a trusting relationship with their workforce and consequently difficult to motivate their teams. While the forces internal to the organization needs to be managed appropriately, there are also external forces that affect human resources management discipline of the future.

organization in the future will be exposed to higher degrees and frequency changes (Aghazadeh, 2003). Competition is rooted in globalization and technology will continue to intensify and businesses will increase their emphasis on the creation of intellectual capital. Furthermore, as many organizations will seek to increase their profits through growth and consolidation, the new knowledge economy will need to find new ways to maintain and protect intellectual capital in the light of these developments (2003). To overcome the forces of the organization that began to build in the last two decades, new forms of organization emerged. Virtual organizations, supported by low-cost technology and communications, bringing some relief to the forces but also some new challenges.

Virtual organizations have started to affect managerial practices and their impact would be strengthened because of the wide dissemination, especially in the form of hybrids, namely the traditional organization that has a virtual component. One form of partial hybrid is the virtualization of traditional office known as telecommuting or teleworking (Sparrow & Daniels, 1999). The Company realized at the turn of the millennium that the technology could produce cost savings and flexibility of a few even in the traditional office environment. Telecommuting to reduce or eliminate commuting time, and providing greater job autonomy for workers. Workers can save money by having to spend less on lunches and clothing and employment benefits of less stress. Unfortunately, virtualization also brings negative side effects, such as an increase in working hours, higher stress levels of home-related, and changes in social relations between members of the team (1999). Sparrow and Daniels found that individuals vary widely in their ability to adapt to a working home office environment, and that working from home requires different skills than traditional office work. Strong impact on the organization seems more pure virtual and entrepreneurs, however, because telecommuters usually only spend most of their time at home and mostly at the office. Virtual work arrangements found to promote the routinization, longer hours, increased job demands, the decline in clarity of roles, poor physical working conditions, career opportunities are fewer, and less social support from colleagues.

Many of these negative effects will be reduced because of improvements in computer technology and the skills of workers in the future, however, human resource departments need to find ways to motivate and train workers to become productive in a virtual setting. Setting up a virtual organization can be a tool to benefit from globalization. For example, companies can reduce travel costs and benefits of lower labor costs and operations disrupted by the deployment of their workforce around the world. Because competitors are going to be easy to catch a virtual organization settings opportunity, ignore or avoid the virtual work environment will not be an option in the future because maybe this time, but rather, managers need to reflect the style of management and communication skills and find new ways to handle the increased work environment the lack of face-to-face communication.

Another trend affecting human resource management is that the U.S. economy gradually shifted from manufacturing to services. In 1970, 27% of workers employed in manufacturing, while with the turn of this century the percentage falls below 15% (Konrad & Deckop, 2001). At the same time, female labor force participation rate was about twice 31-63%. Konrad and Deckop further found that incentive pay schemes have been gaining popularity and that skills shortages will continue to be a threat to U.S. companies. In addition, there will be increased outsourcing even for small and medium business and labor will continue to become more diverse (2001). The shift from manufacturing to services in the industry resulted in a shift in management focus from managing technology to managing people. managers What will tomorrow face new problems and how human capital should be managed?

One new challenge for organizations today is the Internet. As predicted long ago by Ettorre and McNerney (1995), the Internet has strengthened the bargaining power of employees because the Internet empowers people to become self-employed to reduce the costs for entrepreneurs and exposing them to markets worldwide. Employers are losing their grip on the employees because there are many opportunities to make money as an online entrepreneur. To a certain level and by establishing some kind of business on the internet, people will not have to work for the organization at all in the future. Technology has enabled businesses to reach customers globally with a very low cost, and for various types of products and services, individual entrepreneurs are now in direct competition with large multinational companies. The possibility of individuals to compete directly with the companies charge a large risk for many industry sectors, then, managers must find a strategy to protect their businesses and to attract and retain key employees.

With the transition from manufacturing to services, a new type appeared several business and professional services industries have become strong players in the market. As professional services firms, such as law firms, designers, and software companies, are becoming more commonplace in the future, human resource management needs to adapt to such knowledge-intensive corporate environments.

Knowledge-intensive firms are characterized by using people with higher education that provides knowledge-intensive services and products (Teo, Lakhani, & Brown, 2008). Often there is a link to scientific knowledge in the field of corporate expertise and products and services tend to be customized and delivered by experts in the company. Another important characteristic of knowledge intensive firms is that they are involved in intensive interaction with their clients in order to perform their services (2008). Because the level of interaction is required and all the other unique features of professional services firms, human resource management needs to develop a place more emphasis on the social intelligence of their workforce. In addition, because the knowledge-intensive companies have internal and external structure of the complex, the human resources department should use the performance management system that requires employees to set goals and align with corporate environment. Additionally, employees of the company, knowledge workers are called, must be recognized and rewarded for those contributions, ideally using continuous feedback (2008).

Knowledge Workers in the Present

The future will bring many new challenges to the theory and practice of management. Three major trends affecting the management of knowledge workers is likely to globalization, technology, and shifts in workforce demographics (Ruona, Lynham, & Chermack, 2003). The success of knowledge workers and organizations in which they operate will depend greatly on their learning abilities. Competitive advantage in the future because it is likely to come from the development of superior human resources. This will need more quickly, more efficiently, and the whole nation and place. human resource departments need to find ways to learn and produce results faster. As businesses move more quickly in the future from this moment, the responsiveness of the organization will be more critical in the future (2003). Organizations, however, can only be responsive when people they are understood and properly motivated.

Age of knowledge as we know it today has just begun. In a growing economy after World War II, workers have migrated from agriculture to manufacturing and then from manufacturing to service-based work. (Despres, & Hiltrop, 1995). In the OECD countries more than 60% of the workforce used by the service industry (1995). After World War II, beyond the management theory of bureaucracy and engineering perspective for psychosocial and humanistic concepts before finally reaching an understanding of the system. At the same time, the revolution of information encourage the creation of knowledge in the industry.

Today knowledge is often the main aspects of the production rather than sold, it is shared, but, as has been known since the beginning of time, it is impossible to separate knowledge from whoever created it (Despres, & Hiltrop, 1995). In addition to knowledge is not dispersed and workers, human resources will need to promote some special work practices of knowledge-intensive firms. Workers need to challenge accepted wisdom and intuitive, experimental, and knowledge of all systems within the company. In addition, incentive systems should be installed to promote sharing of knowledge and information throughout the organization. One form of the success of an assessment system that has been proven to achieve these objectives into account the interface points of all workers, such as bosses, coworkers, customers, and subordinates. Given that more than 50% of all workers report that they are unhappy about their salaries and bonuses in general, resources need to work on the scheme and improve the framework for the future (1995).

Recently, the chin (2008) proposed a more radical approach to solve the problem of management of knowledge workers. From an interdisciplinary standpoint, chin to make a few observations that are essential for the management and understanding of the knowledge worker. Chin noted that knowledge workers can not be managed through traditional methods. Analogies from anthropology is that all biological systems organize themselves and adapt their behavior to environmental stimuli. Chin indicates that the hierarchical social system is man-made and does not support self-organization, thus, rigidity of hierarchical system is rooted in their inability to organize themselves and adapt to environmental changes. When organizations promote themselves, so that the chin, social capital will come from a larger group interaction. As a result, such organizations benefit from a more committed and activities intraentrepreneurship (2008).

anthropological studies show that humans lived 200,000 years ago in a group of self-government with a high level of reciprocity in which members are autonomous and will lead in turn based on their expertise rather than rank or seniority (chin, 2008). Because all human interactions reflect the principles of self-organization, it is necessary to promote the principles in the organization and gradually means a shift from hierarchical control of the self-regulatory groups. Chin predict the intensification of work in the future knowledge will lead the organization to rediscover the principles of self-organization, however, this "un-management" of knowledge workers in the so-called Knowledge Age will require different skills with superior-subordinate general settings in the system hierarchy. As a company that tries to spread self-organization today, there are many internal conflicts due to incompatibility of ideologies, practices, and reward schemes. Given the observation of the chin, a community organization and is currently in a transition phase towards self-organization?

Knowledge-intensive companies have been there for quite a long time, but the majority in certain industries, such as law, medicine, architecture, etc. Since the Era of Knowledge begins today affects most industries and companies continue to consolidate and develop, become more difficult to motivate the workforce . Knowledge, however, became the most important asset for many organizations today, it should be divided, if not, the company will not be able to use it. But how can organizations facilitate the exchange of knowledge? Apparently this is one of the major obstacles today and the human resources department can do much about it. Forstenlechner and Lettice (2007) found that cultural differences can become a major obstacle and exchange information and knowledge is very inefficient, especially in industry and culture in which individuality is expected in the past. For example, in the past, attorneys and general practitioners who work on their own but as this increases the competitive strength of the medical and legal offices to find the scope and scale economies in consolidating.

The mentality of the association, however, did not follow the trend and lawyers tend to remain individualistic (Forstenlechner & Lettice, 2007). Most knowledge management in industries fail because of lack of time, lack of incentives, and the individuality of workers. In individualistic cultures, which are peculiar to the Western countries that score low on collectivism, therefore it is not surprising that 74% of workers in the offices of the law only feel motivated to share knowledge if knowledge sharing activities are considered in the assessment system. Peer recognition and award a one-time, on the other hand, scored lower by 59% and 43%, respectively (2007). The desire of individuals to share information because it is important to the success of the company and companies need to find ways to re-educate the work force their workers to embrace the sharing of knowledge. Companies need to build internal knowledge and intellectual capital to survive, but they will not be able to do so if the knowledge worker failed to cooperate. Selection of personnel and appropriate motivation to share knowledge will be one of the main challenges for the future of the human resources department and theorist.

Adelstein (2007) took the extreme point to the analogy of comparing the knowledge worker to Icarus. Adelstein noted that as the world economy is constantly changing and growing together, manufacturing will move to third world countries and so-called first world countries will need to set themselves apart by the quality and quantity of knowledge they have and create. Adelstein holds that knowledge is an important asset and that the organization has a need to be protected against theft and misuse of knowledge. This ideology is unfortunately very common and is reflected in the practices of companies that most today. Another viewpoint, which may not have yet a lot of popularity in the media, is the opposite idea; organizations want to protect and have what actually belongs to that knowledge workers. If knowledge protectable per se, there will be legal instruments, particularly intellectual property law, like copyright and patent law, to protect that knowledge. It appears that our society has realized the need to protect the investment from the inventors by giving them a patent, but by explicitly limiting the life of the patent for the most 20 years and limit the scope of patent law enforcement agencies have adopted policies to balance between maintaining a strong level of competition and protect inventors and investment to a certain level. One could argue, then, that the organization may have an interest in the knowledge that is created by knowledge workers, but there should be no automatic claim to it because mere employment.

The question then is whether the organization will still be paying job or a knowledge worker to achieve the knowledge they create. Rhetorical question is then where the boundary of the property of knowledge? Would be ridiculous for an organization to charge its employees for the experience they gained while working for the organization. Similarly, non-compete clause legal in some countries the target to protect trade secrets "and other information, but many states and countries do not uphold such clauses and other countries do so only if the consideration received for it by the workers and only if there a substantial interest to be protected by the company.

Treatment of non-compete within the legal discussions reflect the current stage of our transition as a community. Knowledge Era is likely to bring new, unexpected challenges for management theory and the old would appear too much. For example, Wren (2005) noted how the workers responded by deliberately reducing the output of their work, such as limiting the number of sheets per hour. It is then expected that the knowledge worker, who thought they had reason to retaliate, would reduce the quality of their work to a minimum, just enough to get passed "quality control" and meet the requirements. knowledge worker would deliberately interfere with the process and failed to cooperate and to hoard rather than share the knowledge. As knowledge becomes a valuable asset and layoffs of workers considered high risk, they may try to secure their position by engaging in politics and by treating knowledge as what it is: an asset. This situation is very common, especially in companies that do not respect their knowledge workers for their achievements. The challenge, then, is to better understand the Age of Knowledge and knowledge workers and their special needs. human resources department can tailor specifically to the needs of knowledge workers and greatly affect how they understand and succeed in their work environment.

Knowledge Workers in the Future

So what knowledge workers want and need? As the above discussion has shown, Knowledge Era has brought many new opportunities such as the need to work for an organization begins to diminish at all, thus attracting and retaining knowledge workers and knowledge they will depend on understanding the situation.

Studies conducted by Yigitcanlar, Baum, and Horton (2007) took a very broad perspective by looking at the cities where the knowledge-intensive organizations operate successfully. They found that knowledge workers need a rich environment in the retail and professional sports and music. In addition, childcare, schools and higher education and health care are also key considerations of knowledge workers. Furthermore, the demand for knowledge workers and an affordable housing cost for a rich retirement. Knowledge workers prefer urban, cosmopolitan environment that is rich in time and offer good transportation facilities (2007). This organization aims to attract a certain type of labor because they have to focus on the environment that meets the requirements, but many of the requirements change as an organization founded on a large scale. For example, housing costs can be expected to increase when several major organizations established offices in certain regions, making it difficult for organizations to manage their environment. These organizations can, however, tried to offer additional incentives such as child care in the area where the facility is short of supply.

Contingent work, as a child working knowledge class, a practice that is expected to get more popularity in the next decade (Redpath, Hurst, & Devine, 2007). Redpath, Hurst and contingent workers Devine survey revealed that most of them would prefer a job that is not contingent but was still useful. They like working in different industries, projects and companies and benefit from higher wages and generally more interesting tasks. The more contingent workers are given greater independence and can choose how and where they finished their work. This additional flexibility also helps them to reduce stress in their personal lives, such as by having more time to spend with their children.

It appears that the organization gradually began to realize more value must be communicated to the workers and pay higher and additional flexibility in the work environment are just two examples of a new wave of bargaining between the organization and workforce. Other transitions taking place today is that the human factor is found much more important to knowledge workers than the workers at the touch of the past. Pyöriä (2007) argues that human relationships should be respected because it is much higher by the company's knowledge intensive rather than technology. Technology can be bought, however, needs to be preserved and cultivated talents. Pyöriä find that technology has generally been considered too high and it only helps the automation and coordination. This could explain why some many knowledge management initiatives fail because organizations have ignored the human factor with too much emphasis on technology. What can be done in a few large companies is to appoint a facilitator of knowledge that can help other workers to study, organize, draft, and share knowledge. Given that many knowledge management systems are not successful because the mismatching of organizational culture, the facilitator can help to gradually change the culture and perception of the company towards a more cooperative environment.

human resources department should also keep an eye on the variables that influence job satisfaction of their knowledge workers Lee-Kelley, Blackman, and Hurst (2007) found that shared vision, systems thinking, and team learning is a skill that must be sought in new members but the organization must also provide opportunities for knowledge workers to develop their skills. This can be achieved by providing challenging work and requires the workers to come up with new ideas. In effect this is actually the involvement of employees and also help reduce turnover and increase job satisfaction (2007).

Reduce the bond between knowledge workers and organizations where they work must also be a major concern for human resource practitioners. Knowledge workers have the knowledge of non-substitutable and not dependent on their employers are given the skills and knowledge were scarce (Donnelly, 2006). In addition, the so-called psychological contract between employer and no longer employees but the knowledge worker loyalty slowly shifts towards their career and profession rather than a company that employs (O'Donohue, Sheehan, Hecker, & Holland, 2007). As successful knowledge workers to reach seniority, they seem to develop self-actualization needs that exceed the individual and the organization. Knowledge workers need to contribute to the body of knowledge of their profession and industry, so it can be expected that the workforce in the future will be far more autonomous and independent. Command is in the-and-control structure, which still dominates the landscape of the organization today, apparently against the self-sufficiency, how human resources can go about managing these people?

Successful knowledge workers intrinsic learners, need less structure and more flexibility to expand. Courtney, Navarro, and O'Hare (2007) proposed the Dynamic Organic Transformational (DOT) team model to support high-performance teams of knowledge workers. There are five dimensions in knowledge worker teams: goals, people, partnerships, processes, and performance. DOT model is built on three main assumptions about the team. First, the knowledge worker dynamic team and need to have a holistic view of the organization. Second, a team of experts can only thrive when they are directing themselves and therefore need an organic environment. Third, the team needs to learn the organizational culture to create an environment that encourages innovation, high performance, and effectiveness.

Dynamic view of the team recently extended and applied to the leading concepts and Helgo Karl (2008). According to their research, the concept of leadership will need to become more dynamic in the future. At this time there's too much fixation on the leader in management theory rather than followers. Because leadership is a temporary phenomenon in groups, it emerged from an internal group interaction; hence, a leader can not be understood separately from the group. Social interaction within the group is a feedback mechanism and also the form of leaders or groups. Trying to analyze the leadership without focusing on the followers, then, shifts the emphasis from group analysis. This group, however, is actually maintaining the land for activities and group dynamics within the group is what the leaders reached to exploit.

Copyright 2009 by Savas Papadopoulos, FastNeuron Inc Savas Papadopoulos is a software business consultant with FastNeuron Inc http://www.fastneuron.com. He can be reached at 410 571 5950 or via email: savas@fastneuron.com

[1] By Savas Papadopoulos, http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Savas_Papadopoulos


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