Knowledge Work Is A Myth LO30890

From: Max Mckeown (
Date: 01/14/04

Replying to LO30875 --


I enjoyed your thoughts on knowledge work and workers. It seems that
in the end there are only people and that they are both sole recipient
and creator of human value.

My research, for clients and my last book 'Unshrink', reveals that the
more that this has always been true but is becoming, perhaps once
again, more visibly true.

95% of UK workers, as you say, know their work better than their
managers compared to 95% of managers knowing the work better than
their workers in 1900 (what is your source for this estimate?). I have
no reason to disagree with the movement of knowledge about a job
moving towards the worker rather than the manager BUT it should be
accepted that the best place for knowledge about a job has always been
with the worker. This has not changed.

The worker should know his job best. The 'learning worker' should be
able to continually improve his knowledge of his own work and the way
it is linked to the whole value creation system. It is in the best
interest of organisations to have 'engaged learning workers' who want
to do and apply the learning. It is in their best interest to have
engaged learning workers who are free to apply their learning.

It is no longer sufficient to have a 'little brain, little job'
approach to jobs because jobs are not merely complicated but complex.
We will need people who are able and permitted to think. To think
interrelated, intertwined, multi-faceted, sophisticate thoughts about
the way that they can contribute to the greater good of the
organisation. The organisation can act as the meta-brain to the extent
that it's individual members can contribute, imagine, and enjoy their
newly meaning enriched jobs.

(Please contribute experience into 'self-directed organisations',
'organisational democracy', and 'high performance cultures' to me via
email as I continue my research into how this has been achieved and my
work into setting out the steps that make it happen.)

Nuff said,
Max <>


"Max Mckeown" <>

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