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 7: High Time in High-tech

Dariusz Jemielniak

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


WORK TIME One of the most dramatic yet overlooked changes that has developed in post-industrial enterprises is time management among knowledge workers. According to Stephen A. Sweet and Peter Meiksins (2008, p. 151), who cite a Princeton Survey Research Associates’ study conducted in 2007, 75 per cent of Americans believe that employees today experience more stress than the previous generation. They also spend more time at work. Zygmunt Bauman (1998) describes how globalization and the development of computer technology has overtaken public space and caused it to gradually disappear. The identical process is also true for time – modern work management methods cause private time to shrink. The possibility of working remotely (from a location other than a corporate office) only leads to an illusory increase in employees’ freedom. It identifies, however, every spare moment as potential work time, and deprives employees of regular time spent commuting, and starting and finishing work. These factors also blur the differences between work and private time. Women experience particularly difficult time constraints, as was noticed by Helena Strzemińska (1970), a pioneer researcher in Poland. Working women must balance their career with the same level of responsibilities at home as housewives. It could be expected that after nearly 40 years this situation would have improved dramatically, yet the experience of working women both in Poland (Tarkowska, 2002) and in other Western societies is similar (Gerson, 1985, 1993; Jacobs and Gerson, 2004). Unfortunately, the limited number of women in the companies studied and the complete...

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