Handbook of Research on Managing Managers
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Handbook of Research on Managing Managers

Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Keith Townsend and Gabriele Suder

This book explores the changing role of managers in the workplace. In recent years, there has been considerable debate on the future of management, with both pessimistic and optimistic views being put forward. However, in the wake of delayering, downsizing, re-engineering and the pursuit of leanness, the more gloomy perspective has gained currency, especially in the popular managerial literature, and some have pronounced the end of management altogether. Some paint a more optimistic picture of managers and managers’ work with roles being transformed rather than replaced and the new organisational context providing more demanding work but greater autonomy and increased skill development. With contributions from experts in the field, this book is concerned with the way organisations manage their managers and how this continues to evolve with reference to global issues.
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Chapter 12: Organisational knowledge and knowledge management

Daniele Chauvel and Geneviève Poulingue


For several decades now, it has been accepted that the nature of work has profoundly changed; as Drucker (1959, p. 120) stated, ‘work is based on the mind rather than the hand’. Along with this change in work, the economy and society as a whole have also been transformed by the recognition that knowledge resources are the key drivers of organizational performance and competitive advantage; the inevitable corollary of the above is an imperative for a new way of doing business and managing organisations (Bell, 1973; Spender, 1993; Drucker, 1993; Leonard-Barton, 1995; Nonaka, 1991; Davenport and Prusak, 1998). Drucker, the visionary management guru, asserted that knowledge lies at the centre of this global economic and social transformation where the traditional factors of production – land, labour and capital – become ‘restraints rather than driving forces’. ‘Knowledge turns out to be the one critical factor of production’, he claimed, insisting on two embodiments of knowledge: productivity, when knowledge is applied to what already exists; and innovation, when it is applied to what is new (Drucker, 1993; Schwartz, 1993). He predicted a new organisational landscape that would reshape the concepts and practices of management because making knowledge productive is a management responsibility. It is certain that organisations must manage their knowledge, as an essential agent of differentiation to boost productivity, competitive advantage and innovation.

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