Knowledge Work Productivity LO29394

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 10/28/02

Replying to LO29372 --

Dear Organlearners,

Terje Tonsberg <> writes
in reply to what Alan Cotterell wrote:

>> Terje, I think it's important to clarify why you would want
>> to measure the productivity of individual workers. If it is
>> for the purpose of controlling their activities, it is a pointless
>> and cynical exercise.

>If measurement is done (i.e. numbers calculated) it should be
>done for the purpose of productivity improvements as a
>coaching or self-help tool, not rewards. There are a few
>exceptions that need to be made though occasionally, such as

Greetings dear Terje,

Thank your for making this point clear. We have covered it several times
during the years on our LO-dialogue, but we can do it again and again
since it is so important.

Controlling a person with rewards is the same as training an animal. It
will become submissive and do some tricks, but one never knows when such
an animal will snap and follow its own nature.

A couple of weeks ago i studied a biography on Desire' Erasmus. He was
perhaps the most intellectual thinker ("knowledge worker" ;-) during the
Reformation. He believed that the split between the Catholics and
Protestants was not good for Christianity. So neither the Catholics nor
the Protestants had any love for Erasmus. What i did not know and which
came out clearly from this biography, is that Erasmus was very wary of any
reward offered to him. Already in his time rewards were used to control
the thinking of people, something which he strongly opposed.

We have a saying in my mother tongue, translated literally into English:
"Whose bread you eat, his word you speak." In knowledge work it entails
little independent creation of knowledge.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.