Presentation on theme: "Managing knowledge workers Lecture 3 The second theoretical framework for analysis."— Presentation transcript:
Managing knowledge workers Lecture 3 The second theoretical framework for analysis
Learning objectives Define a knowledge worker Identify the characteristics of knowledge workers and understand the human resource management challenges presented by them Explain how knowledge workers are managed Identify and discuss the dilemmas associate with the management of knowledge workers Understand how social identity can resolve some of the tensions involved in the management of knowledge workers
What is a knowledge worker? Knowledge workers can be defined as employees who apply their valuable knowledge and skills (developed through experience) to complex, novel and abstract problems in environments that provide rich collective knowledge and relational resources. (Swart, 2006)
Qualities of the definition Possession of individual knowledge Application of knowledge Situations need to be novel and complex Collective knowledge and social networks Output of knowledge is difficult to judge
Knowledge worker expectations: the individual perspective Pay is most important (this is because jobs are not hierarchical or status driven) (May, Korczynski & Frenkel, 2002) Intrinsic nature of work (variety, challenge and learning) Co-worker relations and the amount of influence in decisions that influence your work Work organisation and managerial relations Development of cutting-edge skills
Managing knowledge workers Knowledge workers and Boundaries
Managing knowledge work: the organisational perspective Knowledge intensive firms operate in volatile fast-moving environments Fluid organisation of knowledge work Project-based work Product/service Client Reliant on client relationships (B2B) Especially significant for small organisations Client influences on knowledge work
Managerial challenges How can organisations retain and develop their professionals? Presents three dilemmas that sit between the employee and the organisation RetentionEmployability Organisation specific Transferable Value capture Ownership of value Multiple Identity perspective
How can we manage these tensions It is important to take a specific slant toward the management of tensions Could an identity perspective shed any light? Why would an identity perspective be useful in this situation?
What do we mean by identity? The significance of placing yourself within a group in the social environment, that is to say the construction of a social identity (Gergen, 1991) Becomes more important when hierarchical and technical means cannot prescribe behaviour in detail
What is an identity perspective A closer inspection of The multiple sources of identity to which the employee may be exposed The strength of the identity formation The impact on the knowledge intensive output
The case for the identity perspective Professionals tend to have strong links with their professional associations Strong organisational culture and strongly shared values lead to an identification with the organisation Work is generally organised in project teams which often work together for extended periods of time. This makes a clear case for team identity The nature of knowledge intensive work is often bespoke and client focused. This means that employees often work on the client site for extended periods of time. The client identity develops in this process.
The individuals social identity may be derived not only from the organisation, but also from his or her work group, department, union, lunch group, age cohort, fast-track group, and so on (Ashforth and Mael, 1989)
Multiple sources of identity Organisation Client Professional Team EE
Managing multiple identities (FinSoft) 1,82 2 Career satisfaction – organisational identity = 0,513** Career satisfaction – professional identity = 0,422** Organisation Client Professional Team EE 2,74Team 0,441**
Managing multiple identities (DataWare) 2,48 2,71 Career satisfaction – professional identity = 0,675** Organisation Professional Team EE 22 O,758** 0,520* Client
Dynamics of identities FinSoft More balanced, upward pull (organisation and professional) the people I work with are, on the whole brilliant…and the work is quite challenging, there are plenty of opportunities… and the pay is good. There is a sense of team responsibility – theres a no blame culture which is great. We all rally round to fix a problem before the customer sees it. We all get on socially and we share the same values. DataWare Presents a career management challenge Identities are pulling outward (from the professional and the team to the client) A career in DataWare is something that lasts between today and tomorrow. A job in McDonaldss would be slightly more satisfying It is good in my own team and If you are in the right team then you can be satisfied.
Challenges and questions How do organisations meet the multiple identity needs of employees? How do competing commitments influence the process of organisational learning? How do firms capture the value derived from innovation?
HR practices that can resolve tensions Key tensionsHR practices Retention-employabilityRecruitment Involvement Development Pay and Reward Retention strategies Performance management Skill specificity focusResourcing Development Reward Work organisation Career management Value appropriationWork organisation Involvement and participation Pay and reward
Conclusion Definition of knowledge worker Individual dimensions (own knowledge) organisational dimensions (social production) Boundaries knowledge workers operate across firms and their human capital needs to be applied in several configurations Between work and life become blurred Between organisations and clients become fluid Management tensions between managing knowledge and managing knowledge workers Retention –employability Development focus Rent appropriation Use of identity to manage tensions HR practices that can resolve these tensions
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