Week One Assignment
Instructor: Dr. Alan Smith
Date: February 7, 2013
Article Review and Critique: “Knowledge -Worker Productivity: The Biggest Challenge” By Michael E. Porter (1999)
This article first introduces there are not specific knowledge workers before. The workers are all thought as manual workers. Peter F. Drucker pointed out two different types of workers in all types of business environments: the manual worker and the knowledge worker. He also explains the importance of the knowledge work Then Frederick Winslow Taylor first defined the manual-work productivity and first came up with the knowledge in the work. In his opinion, he told us the time that people worked equals to their productivity. Taylor believed that the manual work did not have any skills, what the worker should do is to repeat. The knowledge is the factor which makes the productivity grows. What’s more, he also pointed the importance of quality. Good quality is better than the quantity.
There are six factors that determine the knowledge-worker productivity. First, the task is made by the knowledge-workers. Second, they made effects on the responsibility for their productivity on the individual knowledge workers themselves, they give jobs to themselves. Third, knowledge workers need to learn their technology and teach their knowledge as well. Forth, productivity of the knowledge worker is not a matter of the quantity of output. Quality is at least as important. Fifth, knowledge workers are traded as an “asset”. Their good performances give them opportunities. Last, knowledge workers should make innovation to create better products. Depending on the jobs, Drucker show us examples that knowledge workers became useless by doing non-knowledge based work. The company should hire knowledge workers to do the tasks that can lead them to the right way to increase the productivity. The economics is the area that makes big difference between manual workers and knowledge workers. In the economic theory, the manual worker is seen as a “cost”, but the knowledge workers are considered as the “capital asses”. Costs need to be controlled and assets need to be made to grow. The author gave us the example of Ford Motor Company. The knowledge workers have much higher wage than the manual workers, because the turnover is so excessive as to make its labor costs prohibitively high.
The workers who do both knowledge and manual work called “technologists”. The technologist group, which may be the single biggest group of knowledge of knowledge workers contains large numbers of people in whose work knowledge is relatively subordinate. So many jobs like dentist, health care workers are only for technologists. The expansion has grown because of the college that can provide technology study.
In total, knowledge workers are the important part for the society. Knowledge workers will bring fundamental changes in the very structure and nature of the economic system. Topics I like
The first topic I like is the six factors that determine the knowledge-worker productivity. It clearly pointed out the differences between the knowledge workers and the manual workers. What’s more, it shows us how important the knowledge is. When referring to the knowledge workers, the author indicates the quality is more primary than the quantity.
The second topic I like is task which is defined for the knowledge workers. The task for the knowledge workers is to build innovation into their work. The success of Apple Company is the good example for innovation. Task also means responsibility for their own contribution, continuous learning and continuous teaching which have to be built into the job.
The third topic I like is the technologists. The technologists are both knowledge and manual workers. The society does not need people who only have knowledge, it needs technologists. So as college students,...