Innovation, Learning and Clusters
Edited by Knut Ingar Westeren
Chapter 10: Managing the New Knowledge Workers
10. Managing the new knowledge workers Kjell-Åge Gotvassli Introduction During recent years two significant changes have taken place in relation to the nature of the critical resources of organizations and who owns and controls them. The critical resources in today’s organizations have changed from being of physical and material character, such as capital and production equipment, to so-called knowledge capital or intellectual capital in the form of the skills and attitudes of individual employees. There has also been a shift in power in relation to who possesses and controls the critical resources – from employer to employee (Nordhaug, 1999; Hillestad, 2000). This means that very many organizations face a new type of employee who is very conscious of his own value and who thereby can be seen as more demanding and less loyal to the company. Rohlin et al. (1994) depict these differences by observing that we are moving away from yesterday’s ‘industrial society’ and into today’s knowledge society in which learning and skills development are the most important factors. The employees are the primary engine of the business because they are intelligent, creative and full of initiative. But they are also labelled in advance as resistant to the leadership, willful, flighty and self-important – and hysterically unreasonable and demanding when they do not get their own way (Hein and Larsen, 2007). In this chapter I will examine some of the challenges this poses for the development of a style of personnel leadership that can promote learning and skills development in...
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