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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Knowledge Worker Performance in a Cross-Industrial Perspective

Knowledge Worker Performance in a Cross-Industrial Perspective
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Author(s): Rainer Erne (Leeds Metropolitan University, UK)
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 25
Source title: Collaboration and the Semantic Web: Social Networks, Knowledge Networks, and Knowledge Resources
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Stefan Brüggemann (Astrium Space Transportation, Germany) and Claudia d’Amato (University of Bari, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0894-8.ch015


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Knowledge workers in specific professional domains form the fastest increasing workforce in OECD countries. Since this fact has been realised by management researchers, they have focussed on the question of how to measure and enhance the productivity of said workforce. According to the author’s cross-industrial research undertaken in five different knowledge-intensive organisations, it is, however, not productivity in the traditional meaning of the term which is to be regarded as the crucial performance indicator in knowledge work. There rather exist multiple performance indicators, each of which is, moreover, differently graded as to its importance by different stakeholders. These findings, firstly, indicate the need for an alternative definition of productivity when the term is applied to knowledge work. Secondly, they indicate the need for alternative definitions of the specific challenges that might be involved in making knowledge workers productive. Thirdly, they imply different consequences for the management of knowledge workers. This chapter closes abovementioned research gaps by summarising the indicators employed in five knowledge-intensive organisations from different business sectors for the assessment of knowledge workers’ performance, by subsequently deducing the specific challenges involved in the management of knowledge workers and by further delineating consequences for the management of knowledge workers – consequences affecting various knowledge-intensive industries.

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