Sadly, many managers operate under a Tayloristic philosophy where managers “know it all” and followers are only subordinates with little insight or experience. Managers are smarter; therefore, they “lord” over their workers. However, advanced communication technologies and vast access to information by workers make this approach outdated. As we are bombarded with data and information frequently, manage information becomes critical. The backbone of this transformation is knowledge workers.
Knowledge management (KM) relates to an organization’s ability to systematically capture, organize, and store information. When dealing with KM issues, many people focus on intellectual capital or technology issues, rather than the human element. Dr. Jay Liebowitz, author of Addressing the Human Capital Crisis in the Federal Government, argues that knowledge management should be a critical element in an organization’s human capital strategy.
He further noted the cohesiveness of these terms. In an organization, human capital is derived from the “brain power” of fellow employees. This knowledge transfer is done in an organization in several ways, such as lessons learned, best practices, and culture. Therefore, knowledge management and human capital strategies should be tailored to the specific organization.
As a rule, an organization’s knowledge and capability depends primarily on its human and social capital. Knowledge workers create and capture information for the management of knowledge. This situation occurs because today’s workers are more informed than previous generations. However, knowledge workers are driven by different motivational factors than traditional workers.
Many executives are more concerned with managing resources and work processes than dealing with people. In fact, people become just another product to manage in a hectic environment. Yet, Christina Maslach and Michael Leiter suggest that the current organizational paradigm represents the dehumanization of today’s workers. Therefore, today’s managers cannot afford to manage and motivate workers in the same fashion; they must apply new approaches of leadership in order to inspire today’s knowledge workers.
What can US organizations do to maximize the usage of this knowledge workforce?
© 2011 by Daryl D. Green