The Knowledge Worker and the Knowledge Age

  • James G. Howell


Historically, new forms of journeyman emerge to suit new forms of work. The form of work is often defined by the materials and tools of the journeyman’s trade and the environment in which they ply their trade (Howell, 1999; Howell and Gammack, 1997). The Knowledge Worker, a term first coined by Drucker (1959), now generally refers to a worker associated with a form of work which we might meaningfully categorise as “knowledge work” (Drucker, 1991; Collins, 1998, Nomikos, 1989). The importance of the social context of problem solving in knowledge work has been identified (Hagglund, 1989; Ngwenyama and Klein, 1994; Suchman 1983,Suchman 1987; West 1990,West 1992). If recognition of the social context is important at the individual level, then this is also true at the group level. At the group level of the business, businesses require to realize that knowledge is the new competitive resource to which value is added to enable the successful business to peddle in the free marketplace, and value can be translated into helping the organisation or individual to achieve some form of competitive advantage (Despres and Hiltrop, 1995). The value of most products and services will depend on how knowledge-based intangibles can be developed (Quinn, 1992). The Knowledge Worker is often associated with a technological skill set and access to technology that allows him/her to access a “data repository” (Kappes and Thomas, 1993). Generally, the knowledge worker is associated with information rich business environments and the networked organization (Coulson-Thomas, 1991).


Knowledge Management Intellectual Capital Knowledge Worker Reflective Practice Knowledge Elicitation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • James G. Howell
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Computing and Information SystemsUniversity of PaisleyPaisleyScotland, UK

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