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A City in Search of an Author : The Literary Identity of Trieste
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Add to Cart. Have an Access Token? Enter your access token to activate and access content online. Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token. Have Institutional Access? Forgot your password? Table of Contents. Related Content. Author: Elisa Goudriaan. And this requires that the specialist have access to an organization. This access may be as a consultant, or it may be as a provider of specialized services.
But for the majority of knowledge workers it will be as employees, full-time or part-time, of an organization, such as a government agency, a hospital, a university, a business, or a labor union. In the knowledge society it is not the individual who performs. The individual is a cost center rather than a performance center. It is the organization that performs.
Individually, knowledge workers are dependent on the job. They receive a wage or salary. They have been hired and can be fired. Legally each is an employee.
But collectively they are the capitalists; increasingly, through their pension funds and other savings, the employees own the means of production. And most social theory of industrial society is based, one way or another, on the relationship between the two, whether in conflict or in necessary and beneficial cooperation and balance.
In the knowledge society the two merge. But it is also increasingly the main source of capital for the knowledge society. Perhaps more important, in the knowledge society the employees—that is, knowledge workers—own the tools of production. The capitalist had to own the steam engine and to control it.
Increasingly, the true investment in the knowledge society is not in machines and tools but in the knowledge of the knowledge worker.
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Without that knowledge the machines, no matter how advanced and sophisticated, are unproductive. The market researcher needs a computer. The surgeon needs the operating room of the hospital and all its expensive capital equipment. This is true whether the knowledge worker commands advanced knowledge, like a surgeon, or simple and fairly elementary knowledge, like a junior accountant.
In either case it is the knowledge investment that determines whether the employee is productive or not, more than the tools, machines, and capital furnished by an organization. In the knowledge society the most probable assumption for organizations—and certainly the assumption on which they have to conduct their affairs—is that they need knowledge workers far more than knowledge workers need them.
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There is no higher or lower knowledge. And if an executive is posted to a foreign country, the knowledge he or she needs, and in a hurry, is fluency in a foreign language—something every native of that country has mastered by age three, without any great investment.
The knowledge of the knowledge society, precisely because it is knowledge only when applied in action, derives its rank and standing from the situation. Knowledges were always seen as fixed stars, so to speak, each occupying its own position in the universe of knowledge.
In the knowledge society knowledges are tools, and as such are dependent for their importance and position on the task to be performed. One additional conclusion: Because the knowledge society perforce has to be a society of organizations, its central and distinctive organ is management. But we have learned in this past half century that management is the distinctive organ of all organizations.
All of them require management, whether they use the term or not.
All managers do the same things, whatever the purpose of their organization. All of them have to bring people—each possessing different knowledge- together for joint performance. All of them have to make human strengths productive in performance and human weaknesses irrelevant. All of them have to think through what results are wanted in the organization—and have then to define objectives.
All of them are responsible for thinking through what I call the theory of the business—that is, the assumptions on which the organization bases its performance and actions, and the assumptions that the organization has made in deciding what not to do.
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All of them must think through strategies—that is, the means through which the goals of the organization become performance. All of them have to define the values of the organization, its system of rewards and punishments, its spirit and its culture.
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In all organizations managers need both the knowledge of management as work and discipline and the knowledge and understanding of the organization itself—its purposes, its values, its environment and markets, its core competencies. Management as a practice is very old. The most successful executive in all history was surely that Egyptian who, 4, years or more ago, first conceived the pyramid, without any precedent, designed it, and built it, and did so in an astonishingly short time. That first pyramid still stands.
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But as a discipline management is barely fifty years old. It was first dimly perceived around the time of the First World War. Since then it has been the fastest-growing new function, and the study of it the fastest-growing new discipline. No function in history has emerged as quickly as has management in the past fifty or sixty years, and surely none has had such worldwide sweep in such a short period.
Management is still taught in most business schools as a bundle of techniques, such as budgeting and personnel relations. To be sure, management, like any other work, has its own tools and its own techniques.