All entries for Wednesday 23 October 2013

October 23, 2013

Managing the worker. Knowledge vs Manual?

So far in my blogs I have discussed how managing workers and the use of performance related pay within organisations may not be the best way of managing the worker, as it increases internal competition within the organisation. However, I have described workers under a blanket, as being all the same. Different workers will surely react to different rules, regulations and policies in a different manner. This issue was raised whilst reading Peter Drucker's Management book. Drucker raises some interesting concepts about productive work and achieving work, and that the segmentation of the workforce, into primarily two distinct categories of manual workers and knowledge workers, requires management to lead their employees in different ways depending upon which category they belong too.

This is a concept that I have not so far considered or raised discussion on in class. Managing knowledge workers is however, fundamentally similar to some of the points and issues I have raised in my previous blogs; that the right policies and practices are developed with the focus on the future rather than the past and on opportunities rather than problems. Drucker reinforces this point by arguing that only self motivation and self direction make these workers productive, and that they have to be achieving in order to produce at all.

This I feel is relevant to the EFQM model and contemporary organisatons today, because there has been a shift away from traditional manual workers to these knowledge workers. Therefore, it is imperitave that managerial policies and the leadership within an organisation adjusts from the more scientific measured apporaches, defined by the likes of Taylor when managing manual workers, to focusing on how to bring the best out of these knowledge workers, who Drucker labels as the new breed, "challenging the traditional economic and power relationships" within society and organisations.

However, it is important to also understand and appreciate that the traditional manual worker has evolved in most developed economies. Manual operations now also include knowledge work within them, and it is important to realise that the traditional mangerial view the likes of Frederick Taylor developed may not best serve the employees within the organisation. No, it is a stimulating environment with freedom for employees and consultation on both levels that may lead to increasing productivity within an organisation, and help achieve higher levels of excellence.

October 2013

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