Knowledge Workers in the Present


The last 50 years caused a significant transformation. The manager's emphasis shifted from production and technology management to service and ultimately to knowledge management. The web has revolutionized the way in which business is conducted across cultures and borders and it also made knowledge readily accessible. Entrepreneurs finally have a method to reach markets global at little price. This puts them at a fresh stronger standing due to lower capital requirements to set up a small business , and it has given more bargaining power symmetry to knowledge workers than before. Knowledge workers have to be managed otherwise as they have a tendency to be more faithful to their professions rather than the organizations and are therefore different they work for. One major challenge for human resource managers besides recruiting and retaining knowledge workers would be to find a way to move them. This paper rejects work for hire arrangements and instead advocates shared knowledge ownership scenarios which could ordinarily result in a much better result for many stakeholders.


The fast technological progress of the 20th century along with the huge changes in the global political landscape have radically changed the environment for every organization today. Even though the shifts from manufacturing excellence to service excellence and from national focus to international prognosis began after WWII, the adaptation to these forces that are changing of management remains an on-going procedure.

Managers deployed several coping mechanisms to handle new threats and dynamics of the complex organizational environments of today. Some of these coping mechanisms have failed and some have worked in the past but will not continue to work later on since the inherent assumptions are not any longer valued. Diversification, for instance, was touted as a risk management tool that was promising; nonetheless, the recent economic meltdown and failure of dozens of financial institutions worldwide are an indication that there may happen to be too much reliance on diversification after all. Drucker (2006) proposed that organizations are only able to be be successful whenever they focus on a single job only. The organization's operation capacity is destroyed by diversifying, as mentioned by Drucker. Potential explanations for this outcome that is contradicting are the greater switching costs between the increased administrational overhead of handling several endeavors along with concurrent activities inside the organization.

Organizations reacted by gathering more info, as the organizational environment becomes more complicated. Drucker (2006) criticized, however, that most often businesses used advice and then track the past rather than to base future actions on it. Today the absolute quantity of information gathered and drawing on the quality judgments from it constitutes an additional challenge to direction. Rather than just responding to tips, tomorrow's organizations will need to be designed around information and create value and wealth to be able to live (2006). One of the essential information an organization should always monitor is the group of underlying assumptions around which the organization was developed.

Drucker (2006) also declared that business crises often originate in the truth that organizations were built on assumptions that no longer hold true. Companies, hence, need to constantly reassert that their assumptions still hold true and revise their internal structure when this becomes crucial to adapt changes inside their environment. This kind of sensible adaptation that Drucker favors could be interpreted as a form of organizational critical thinking and self awareness.

As a great thinker in the subject of direction plus a practicing consultant, Drucker comprehended the human factor has become more significant than ever before. Due to the transition from touch laborers to knowledge workers, the relationship between workforce and management must transform from command-and-control by employee empowerment to leadership. Drucker's major criticism is the fact that supervisors tend to be overly isolated from their work force and do not spend enough time communicating by making use of their workers. Why managers have it hard to build trustful relationships with their workforce and consequently have problem moving their teams, the failure to listen to employees is. There are many outside forces that can change the human resource management discipline of the near future, while these forces which can be internal to organizations will have to be managed appropriately.

Rivalry rooted in globalization and technology will continue to intensify and companies will increase their emphasis on the creation of intellectual capital. Also, as many organizations will seek to boost their profitability through growth and consolidation, the newest knowledge economy will need to find new means to nurture and protect intellectual capital in the light of those developments (2003). In order to cope with these organizational forces that began to build up in the last two decades, a new type of organization emerged. Virtual organizations, powered by technology and low-cost communication, brought some relief to these forces but also several new challenges.

Virtual organizations have already started to influence managerial practice and their impact will definitely strengthen for their broad deployment, especially in hybrid form, that is conventional organizations which have components that were virtual. One hybrid kind is the partial virtualization of traditional offices known as telecommuting or teleworking (Sparrow & Daniels, 1999). Telecommuting reduces or eliminates commuting times, and gives greater job autonomy to workers. Workers can save cash by having to spend less on lunches and clothing and benefit from less work-related stress. Unfortunately, the virtualization also brought negative side effects, for example an increase in working hours, higher amounts of house-related pressure, along with a change in societal relationships between team members (1999). Daniels and Sparrow found that working from home requires different abilities than conventional office work and that individuals differed significantly inside their capability to conform to the home office work environment. The impact is apparently more powerful on purely virtual organizations and entrepreneurs, nevertheless, because telecommuters usually spend only part of the majority in work and also their time at home. Virtual work settings were found to market routinization, longer hours, increases in work demands, fell fewer career opportunities, poorer physical working conditions, role clarity, and less social support from coworkers.

Many of these negative effects will decline due to advancements in worker and technology computer skills in the future; nonetheless, human resource departments will have to figure out means to inspire and train workers to eventually become productive in virtual settings. Setting up virtual organizations can be a fantastic instrument to reap the benefits of globalization. For instance, companies can reduce travel expenses and benefit from lower labour rates and uninterrupted operations by dispersing their work force around the world. Since opponents will probably be easily setting virtual organizations to seize such opportunities, ignoring or circumventing virtual work environments WOn't be a choice later on as it may be in the second; instead, managers will have to reflect on their management styles and communication abilities and find new, improved ways to deal with work environment that insufficient face to face communication.

Another trend affecting human resource management is the U.S. economy has slowly changed from manufacturing to services. At the same time, the female work force participation rate approximately doubled from 31 to 63%. Konrad and Deckop further uncovered that incentive pay schemes have gained popularity and that skill deficits will continue to pose a danger to U.S. businesses. Additionally, there will undoubtedly be a rise in outsourcing even for small and medium sized enterprises as well as the work force will continue to be much more diverse (2001). The shift from production to service in the business resulted in a shift of managerial focus from managing technology to handling people. What new problems will tomorrow's managers confront and how should human capital be handled?

One new challenge to today's organizations is the web. As foreseen long time past by Ettorre and McNerney (1995), the web has already strengthened worker negotiating power because the net empowers people to become self employed by reducing the costs for entrepreneurs and exposing them to worldwide markets. Because you'll find lots of opportunities to generate income as an entrepreneur online employers are losing their grip on workers. Into a particular level and by establishing particular forms of companies on the net, people WOn't have to work for organizations at all in the future. Technology has empowered entrepreneurs to reach customers internationally at a really low cost and for many types of products person entrepreneurs and big multinational corporations are now competing. The possibility of individuals competing with corporations visits an excellent hazard to a lot of industry sectors; consequently, managers will have to find strategies to safeguard their companies along with to attract and keep key employees.

With the transition from production to service, several new types of companies emerged and existing professional service industries became more powerful players in the industry. As these professional service businesses, such as designers, law firms, and software businesses, become more common as time goes on, human resource management will have to adapt to such knowledge intensive firm environments.

Knowledge intensive companies are characterized by employing individuals with higher education who give knowledge intensive services and products (Teo, Lakhani, & Brown, 2008). Often there's a link to scientific knowledge within the section of expertise of the business and also the products and services tend to be customized and delivered by specialists in the firm. One other significant characteristic of knowledge intensive businesses is they participate in intensive interaction with their clients to be able to execute their services (2008). On account of the particular level of interaction needed and all of the other unique options that come with professional service firms, human resource management will have to come up with place more emphasis on social intelligence in their workforce. Additionally, because knowledge intensive firms have a complicated internal and external structure, performance management systems which require workers to establish targets and align to the firm's surroundings should be used by human resource departments. Additionally, employees of such businesses, the so called knowledge workers, should be recognized and honored due to their contributions, ideally using constant feedback (2008).

Knowledge Workers in the Present

The future will bring tons of new challenges to the management theory and practice. The three main trends affecting the management of knowledge workers are likely to be globalization, technology, and the shifting work force demographics (Ruona, Lynham, & Chermack, 2003). The success of knowledge workers as well as the organizations by which they manage will depend largely on their learning ability. The competitive advantage of the future is so likely to come from human resource development that is exceptional. It is going to need to be quicker, more efficient, and across nations and places. Human resource departments should figure out strategies to learn and deliver results faster. As the tempo of company will probably be even faster in the future than it is now, the responsiveness of organizations will be more critical in the future (2003). Organizations, however, can only be reactive when their folks moved and are comprehended appropriately.

The knowledge era as we know it today has just begun. In developed economies after WWII, workers have migrated from farming to production after which from production to service-based work. After WWII, management theory transcended to psychosocial and humanistic concepts from engineering and bureaucratic viewpoints before finally reaching the opinion of systems. At once, the information revolution stimulated the creation of knowledge in the sectors.