Motivating knowledge worker to perform

The light bulb moment:

Motivating knowledge worker to perform

This should have been plenty of time for theorists and practitioners, together or separately, to develop sound models for managing this new post-capitalist wave of knowledge workers, models that actually work and are more than fads.

What we know is that the supply of management models has flourished, alongside cybernetic systems, most of which are concerned with how to store and transfer knowledge, seeing it as a structural commodity. The individual responsible for these structures and systems has traditionally been the manager.

In this case the knowledge manager. Management, a mere Leftover from the Industrialization? Shenhav and Weitz make the argument that management is an inheritance from the early period of industrialization, inspired by the many gains the western world was making from industrialization and engineering almost two centuries ago.

They claim that ideas from engineering were taken from the world of machines into the world of people for the sake of reducing uncertainty in managing a workforce and enhancing productivity.

Management was from the start a way of controlling through deploying standardization and systems. During the latter decades of the 20th century, these ideas were brought into the domain of knowledge as a new wave of knowledge workers emerged, precisely as depicted by Drucker.

As a result, today knowledge management systems are an expected component in the management of companies.


The contradictions of Knowledge and Management Critical voices have, however, pointed out that knowledge and management form an oxymoronic relationship; a relationship where contradictory terms are sought united e. Alvesson and Karreman, ; Styhre, Knowledge cannot be managed, as it is private property, which cannot be shared, as such, between workers.

The stuff, which is codified and stored in systems, or in books or manuals for that sake, is worthless outside of the practical experience and context of those possessing it. One might store a word, an SOP or a narrative, but what is stored are merely symbols, not knowledge itself.

The problem is rather that the procedures for uploading information are weak. Their practical experience and expertise are desired treasures, hidden privately. Scholars have therefore started looking at alternatives for knowledge sharing and development, and recently ideas have emerged from studying the practice and learning of traditional craftsmanship.

These models, interestingly, incorporate ideas from pragmatist philosophers basically saying that knowing and learning is always, and should always be, practical more than theoretical. What is the lesson learned from all these wicked issues of knowledge, expertise, sharing and autonomy, particularly under growing demands for innovation and knowledge development?

Answers may be ready at hand, but perhaps we should look beyond yet more models or systems of management. A cruel joke has been made in Norway at the expense of sheep farmers for losing much of their stock to wolves; how about herding them like in the old days?

A similar joke can be made at the expense of the over-managed corporation — how about leading instead of more management? Characteristics of the Knowledge Workers We know that knowledge workers are deeply vested, often ideologically, in their trade.

Typically they are highly educated, specialized and prone to changing workplaces, off to seek new adventures see for instance Hislop, We label them autonomous.

Knowledge workers such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, and scholars, on their side, may hold their ethos high, maybe higher than monetary incentives — they do what they do because it is part of who they are.

Their work is their identity. Efforts of management control may be counter-effective with these workers, in the worst case, it may motivate them to leave the organization, taking with them much needed expertise and experience.

But instead of asking how you can control these individuals, you might want to ask why you should control them in the first place? Trust-Based Leadership or Distrustful Management? Autonomy does not imply by default that one is always full out dedicated or energized.

Laziness, unwillingness, resistance, may always lurk in the shadows. Or sometimes even out in the open.

Motivating knowledge worker to perform

Still, I would argue that more is gained through trust-based leadership than by distrustful management. Prone to overstatements, we should take his words seriously, though discern them critically.

What does such a partnership entail? Even if this model is constantly battled and challenged, and soaked with uncertainty and vagueness, it is based on a firm belief in cooperation.To ensure high motivation levels, you may have to consider carefully which projects you assign to knowledge workers.

Find out what their interests and goals are, and then aim to align those to the work they do within the organization.

extension worker as a leader to farmers: influence of extension leadership competencies and organisational commitment on extension workers’ performance. Motivation as a desire to perform an action is usually defined as having two parts, directional such as directed towards a positive stimulus or away from a negative one, as well as the activated "seeking phase" and consummatory "liking phase".

Executive Summary. Reprint: RC. What is the best way to motivate employees to do creative work? Help them take a step forward every day.

In an analysis of knowledge workers’ diaries, the.

Leverage the Systems View

Knowledge workers can be categorized according to the amount of time engaged * Routine versus: On one end of the scale, workers perform tasks that are primarily repetitive and routine in nature but occasionally use complex information to make independent decisions, often with regard to .

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