Knowledge Work Productivity LO29374

From: Terje A. Tonsberg (
Date: 10/23/02

Replying to LO29356 --

Greetings Fred and group,

Fred said:
"It should be pointed out, however, that most of what Terje says focuses on
the knowledge worker, not the work itself."

My comment:
Yes, but I think this is important. Since the worker has so much control
over the process in Knowledge Work I prefer this focus. The Knowledge Worker
produces the process, takes at least part in it and thus also has part in
the result. Since what seems to be a unique step to this type of work is the
first one, I propose that "Knowledge Work is the production of processes."
(thoughts?) I left out results because there will presumably always be some
high level goal around if people decide that work is needed at all. The
result defined will therefore be the last step set for reaching this higher

Fred Writes:
"Moreover, it clearly has roots in materials-based work (e.g., as is the
case when Terje talks about 'output').

My comment:
Yes I agree. I chose this as a metaphor to go from the well known to the
less known to detect essential differences between the two concepts. What I
feel I did was to start with the material and move towards Knowledge Work
(KW), ultimately ending up with something void of weight and volume, namely
"passion" and the 7Es. For the record, my understanding of "output" is not
material. I tend to label anything that comes out of a process as "output."
I see now that it may be misleading to others.

Fred said:
"the end, then, perhaps the labels "knowledge work" and "knowledge workers"
are of little practical value and the central issue with respect to
productivity is the extent to which one's working activities are configured
or prefigured."

I think you are right on. This is a more precise way of looking at it.

Fred said:
"If we view the so-called knowledge worker as an interventionist,"
"We would instead focus on identifying efficacious actions, that is,
productive interventions, and that, I believe, has more to do with the
structures in which people intervene than it does with them."

Yes, and this is where I feel the 7Es and passion come in. For example, if
the structures are too hard to work with, or in, it will lead to learned
helplessness, even if the worker was passionate to begin with. The 7Es are
the key to changing the structures to become "intervenable," and also the
key to producing effective interventions through knowledge.



"Terje A. Tonsberg" <>

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