The New Knowledge Workers

The New Knowledge Workers

New Horizons in Management series

Dariusz Jemielniak

This critical ethnographic study of knowledge workers and knowledge-intensive organization workplaces focuses on the issues of timing and schedules, the perception of formality and trust and distrust in software development as well as motivation and occupational identity among software engineers.

Chapter 4: Knowledge Workers

Dariusz Jemielniak

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational innovation, innovation and technology, organisational innovation


This book is based on the study of programmers. In the literature they fall into the category of knowledge workers, professionals, engineers and white-collars. All these categories are justified, although each one takes account of slightly different dimensions of their role, which is why these terms and categories are the subject of this chapter. In terms of broad simplification, it can be assumed that, for knowledge workers, knowledge is as much the resource and means of production as it is the result of their work (Newell et al., 2002). For them, to divide work up into planning, scheduling and following the plan is a gross distortion. This is a view which, as mentioned earlier, has appeared only recently and is typical of the transformation process taking place in the knowledgeintensive economy. Because this category of employees is relatively new and small, most modern analysis of contemporary organizational transformation processes relates to manual workers and is linked to the quite obvious observation that the mechanization and computerization of production change the character of manual work for more than they do that of intellectual work. Experts who deal with the latest technologies in particular are seldom the subject of these academic considerations. This is mostly due to the novelty of their profession, (which makes them seem less prone to changes). Second, a common belief is that through their link to technology and access to knowledge they enjoy a privileged status, and may indeed even seem to exist above and beyond typical organizational...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information