Increasing Dependency on Knowledge Workers

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Increasing Dependency on Knowledge Workers

The digital era has increased the importance of knowledge workers in the business world. The knowledge worker deviates from the traditional routine based occupations. Their work demands convergent, divergent, and creative thinking with the objective of solving problems. The workers leverage information to guide their decision-making processes. The emergence of internet has made information more accessible and simplified the decision making process. The preference of knowledge work over industrial skills in developed and emerging economies is attributed to the former’s proven record of stimulating productivity. With the augmentation of productivity challenges, knowledge work becomes a necessity. The dependence on knowledge workers is an advanced stage of the specialization and division of labor. Previously the said workers spent a third of their time actively searching for information. The digital interface has redirected their efforts towards analysis of data. In the upper echelons of the job hierarchy, there is a clear demarcation between the knowledge and manual worker. In contrast, the lower levels the two overlap. The global economy has become information based subsequently requiring knowledge proficient workers to facilitate it proper operation.

The increase of literacy has elevated majority of workers to the acclaimed knowledge status. It follows that companies are increasingly changing their management techniques. The typical command-and control companies have changed into collaborative organization acknowledging the importance of broad input from the said knowledge workers (Cross 20). It follows that they can make strategic decisions in an increasingly competitive global economy. The dissemination of knowledge has leveled the playing field in many sectors. As the monopoly over information diminishes, the value is derived from the quality of interpretation of said data. The approach towards employees has since changed. They are no longer liabilities rather they are assets. Investing in the skill set of a knowledge worker through provision of a favorable environment has a direct correlation to quality of output. The human resource takes precedence over the production process. An information economy is fluid and knowledge workers easily adapt to the changes.

The technological transformation has made majority of mechanical functions redundant. In order to adapt to the constant innovations emerging, the company must correspondingly rid themselves of old structures. The word ‘structures’ is also tacit for management apparatus. Employees are more proficient in their particular specialization fields relative to their superiors (Cross 28). It follows that supervisors no longer function to control their juniors rather to facilitate their productivity. To optimize value the knowledge worker ought to be empowered to make decisions with confidence. Providing the employees with training without reinforcing it is futile. The milestone of a knowledge intensive society is the decentralization of decision-making. Embracing employee autonomy becomes a necessity rather than an alternative.

The knowledge economy is an industry whose raw material is intellectual capital. The former sectors as manufacturing and agriculture that were the pillars of economy have been commoditized subsequently moved to where the production cost is minimal (Tran 281). The forms of industrial and manufacturing work that have survived the transition are those that have integrated knowledge into their operations, for instance, biotechnology manufacturing, and precision farming. About 80% of the labor force currently comprises of knowledge workers in contrast to the 20% manual laborers. The former are equally expensive to maintain. Ensuring they give consistently high returns is the number one priority and mandate of the management. Intellectual capital, if properly harnessed should facilitate creation of new knowledge. As knowledge controls all other factors of production, the quality of the intellectual capital has enduring effects on the output.

 

Works Cited

Cross, Robert L. “Leveraging Intellect In A Small Business: Designing An Infrastructure To Support Today’s Knowledge Worker.” Journal of Small Business Strategy 8.1 (2015): 15-34.

Tran, Ben. “The Human Element of the Knowledge Worker: Identifying, Managing, and.” Knowledge Management and Competitive Advantage: Issues and Potential Solutions: Issues and Potential Solutions (2013): 281.

 

 

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