Human Resources Management and Knowledge Creation

Fachartikel 158



Recently, Peter Drucker stated that less than one fifth of the workforce nowadays are bluecollar workers doing manual work, while white-collar workers doing knowledge work make up two fifths of the workforce. Yet, when it comes to our understanding of a knowledge worker’s productivity, we are “in the year 2000 roughly where we were in the year 1900 in terms of productivity of the manual worker” (Drucker 1999, p. 83). If companies could enhance productivity of knowledge workers in the 21st century as much as they did of manual workers in the 20th century, the payoffs would be astronomical. This article will describe new ways of managing the human resources function in organizations of knowledge workers and how this can enable knowledge creation. To understand the task of introducing new human resource policies in knowledge worker organizations it is important to see how human resources management is still shaped to a large extent by ideas on how to manage manual work. In order to gain new insights on how to enhance the productivity of knowledge workers as dramatically as was the case with manual workers in the past, it is necessary to start by asking what are the main similarities and what are the main differences between traditional manual work and knowledge work in firms.

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