One-Size-Fits-All? Towards a Taxonomy of Knowledge Workers

  • Rémy Magnier Watanabe
  • Caroline Benton
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Complexity book series (SPCOM)


Instead of focusing on one-size-fits-all policies for knowledge management (KM), this research attempts to establish a taxonomy of workers based on their KM readiness expressed through their attitudes and participation in KM activities. A questionnaire survey conducted with Japanese engineers reveals four distinct groups—advocates, skeptics, busy, and hopeful—derived from their perceived importance of and time spent on KM actions, with significantly differentiated perceived enablers and barriers of KM. The data, containing answers to both open-ended and ordinal scale questions, was analyzed with both text-mining and statistical analyses. Broadly, KM advocates and busy people recognize the importance of intention and autonomy while skeptics give very little credit to any established KM enabler. Advocates, busy people and skeptics recognize information and people as important barriers to knowledge acquisition, storage and system as impediments to knowledge storage, understanding as an obstacle to knowledge diffusion, and application as a hurdle for knowledge application. Advocates, representing the most actively-involved faction in KM, consistently acknowledge intention and autonomy as enablers, while they cite people as barriers of KM. The results of this study suggest that to improve KM, organizations should first segment their workers based on their attitudes and participation in KM activities, and then implement different strategies aimed at different subgroups of employees based on their level of preparation or readiness for KM.


Knowledge Management Knowledge Acquisition Knowledge Diffusion Knowledge Application Requisite Variety 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TsukubaTokyoJapan

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