Your Guide to Becoming the Authority in your Domain

Home (Topic Index) | Course Info | Class Sessions | Discussion | Site Map | Video | Quotes | Links 

Frameworks for understanding Knowledge Work and Innovation

Effective knowledge work

Human Interaction Management (Harrison-Broninski, 2005) asserts that there are 5 principles characterizing effective knowledge work:

1. Build effective teams

2. Communicate in a structured way

3. Create, share and maintain knowledge

4. Align your time with strategic goals

5. Negotiate next steps as you work

Knowledge worker productivity

Drucker (1999) defines six factors for knowledge worker productivity:

1. Knowledge worker productivity demands that we ask the question: "What is the task?"

2. It demands that we impose the responsibility for their productivity on the individual know-ledge workers themselves. Knowledge workers have to manage themselves.

3. Continuing innovation has to be part of the work, the task and the responsibility of know-ledge workers.

4. Knowledge work requires continuous learning on the part of the knowledge worker, but equally continuous teaching on the part of the knowledge worker.

5. Productivity of the knowledge worker is not — at least not primarily — a matter of the quantity of output. Quality is at least as important.

6. Finally, knowledge worker productivity requires that the knowledge worker is both seen and treated as an "asset" rather than a "cost." It requires that knowledge workers want to work for the organization in preference to all other opportunities.


Davenport, Thomas H. and Laurence Prusak (1998) Working Knowledge. Harvard Business School press. Boston, MA

Drucker, Peter F (1999) Management Challenges of the 21st Century. New York: Harper Business

Drucker, Peter F (1973) Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices. Harper & Row, New York

Harrison-Broninski, Keith (2005) Human interactions: The heart and soul of business process management. Kiffer Press, Tampa FL

Leonard, Dorothy (1993) Wellsprings of Knowledge. Harvard Business School Press, Boston MA. 334 p.

Mcgee, James and Lawrence Prusak (1993) Managing information Strategically. John Wiley. New York.


Hierarchy from individual specialists to global-scale networking

knowledge work forms a complex social web spanning from the effort of individual specialists, through technical activity, professional projects, and management programs, to organiza-tional strategy, knowledge markets, and global-scale networking. This framework spans every class of knowledge work that is being or is likely to be undertaken:

1. Knowledge work (e.g., writing, analyzing, advising) is performed by subject-matter specialists in all areas of an organization. Although knowledge work began with the origins of writing and counting, it was first identified as a category of work by Drucker (1973).

2. Knowledge functions (e.g., capturing, organizing, and providing access to knowledge) are performed by technical staff, to support knowledge processes projects. Knowledge functions date from c. 450 BC, with the library of Alexandria, but their modern roots can be linked to the emergence of information management in the 1970s (Mcgee and Prusak, 1993).

3. Knowledge processes (preserving, sharing, integration) are performed by professional groups, as part of a knowledge management program. Knowledge processes have evolved in concert with general-purpose technologies, such as the printing press, mail delivery, the telegraph, telephone networks, and the Inter-net.

4. Knowledge management programs link the generation of knowledge (e.g., from science, synthesis, or learning) with its use (e.g., policy analysis, reporting, program management) as well as facilitating organizational learning and adaptation in a knowledge organization. Knowledge management emerged as a discipline in the 1990s (Leonard, 1995).

5. Knowledge organizations transfer outputs (content, products, services, and solutions), in the form of knowledge services, to enable external use. The concept of knowledge organizations emerged in the 1990s (Davenport and Prusak, 1998).

6. Knowledge services support other organizational services, yield sector outcomes, and result in benefits for citizens in the context of knowledge markets. Knowledge services emerged as a subject in the 2000s. (Simard et al., 2007).

7. Social media networks enable knowledge organizations to co-produce knowledge outputs by leveraging their internal capacity with massive social networks. Social networking emerged in the 2000s

This framework is useful for positioning the myriad types of knowledge work relative to each other and within the context of organizations, markets, and the global knowledge economy. It also provides a useful context for planning, developing, and implementing knowledge management projects.

Knowledge Work Basics | Knowledge Workers | K-Work and Innovation | Frameworks for understanding K-Work | Discussion Points


Home (Topic Index)  | Professor Steve Freeman  | Why I created this course  | Why I created this website  |  Course Info  | Class Sessions