Chapter Four

Knowledge Work and the Future of Management

Thomas H. Davenport

Does management have a future? The idea of “management”—a separate role from workers focused on the planning, oversight, and monitoring of work—was appropriate for the Industrial Age, but some would suggest that it is no longer necessary in an era of autonomous, self-motivated knowledge workers. Will teams of computer programmers, marketing analysts, researchers, and people in other knowledge-intensive jobs essentially manage themselves? Middle managers are already endangered; will senior managers follow them into the corporate dustbin?

Despite these developments, there is still an important role, albeit a different one, for management in the future. The single most ...

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