Chapter 5. The Human Focus: Understanding and Managing Knowledge Workers

In this chapter you will:

Understand that the success of a knowledge company is based on the proper management of its knowledge workers (KWs).

Learn how to make the organization attractive to knowledge workers so that they will be motivated to join and remain.

Gain tools for enlarging the workers' knowledge.

Develop techniques for encouraging knowledge workers to share and contribute their knowledge.

The knowledge worker (KW) is obviously the center, and the main asset, of every organization based on intellectual capital. Managing KWs is one of the core capabilities of an organization. By managing we mean all relevant aspects including recruiting and retaining workers, developing their skills and potential, encouraging them to create and share knowledge, and more.

The issue of managing KWs has a very wide scope and appears in many contexts:

  • Much of modern thinking on managing human resources (HR) either deals with KWs or promotes similar processes for all workers.

  • Almost every aspect of knowledge management requires attention to managing KWs.

We have already discussed the necessary style of management of such workers in the consideration of culture in Chapter 4, and we refer to it in almost every subsequent chapter in this book. In this chapter we focus on issues that involve human resources methods that can be used toward refining the management of knowledge workers.

We begin by discussing the unique identity of the ...

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