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Successful Knowledge Worker Teams Coursework

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Factors key to the success of knowledge worker teams

Also termed as human capital, free agents or knowledge entrepreneurs, knowledge workers comprise of the fastest evolving division of workers globally. Peter Drucker precisely defined knowledge workers as high level workforces applying analytical and theoretical knowledge attained through learning to produce and improve new services and products (Drucker, 2011).

This category of workers tends to acquire, interpret, manipulate and critically apply information so as to perform unpredictable, multidisciplinary and complex tasks. In fact, knowledge workers scrutinize information and draw on their expertise in various areas to generate ideas, solve problems and create new-fangled commodities (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2011). However, the success of knowledge worker teams depends on knowledge management, organizational culture and team decision making process.

Knowledge management

Knowledge management plays a critical role in ensuring the success of knowledge worker teams. In the current information age, the survival of any corporation heavily relies on the capacity to seize intelligences, convert them into functional knowledge, implant them as structural learning and rapidly diffuse them all through the corporation.

This is an ideal function played by knowledge management. The success of knowledge workers depends on the knack of the organizational administration to ensure that knowledge worker teams build knowledge friendly culture.

This facilitates the success of knowledge worker teams in that the teams will act based on the shaped organizational culture, build and embed a culture on knowledge sharing (Warren, Davies & Simperl, 2011). Through knowledge management, knowledge workers will effectively utilize their intellectual capacity by jointly wiring the brains so that they can reason, collaborate and instinctively share information to ensure the success of the team.

Besides, to ensure that knowledge worker teams become successful, the organizational management may opt for long term and short reward structures as a strategy for knowledge management. The incentive structures always encourage knowledge workers to game the working systems for the rewards.

To realize this, the organization may introduce point systems where all users, evaluators and contributors of knowledge are rewarded if the repository posed knowledge is applied in making complex decisions (Drucker, 2011). This will enhance the success of knowledge worker teams since they will openly share knowledge to help solve critical problems hence, the success of the entire knowledge team.

Organizational culture

Knowledge workers are different from the previous worker generations and organizational culture is considered as a critical factor in their success. In fact, this category of workers always requires the organization to support their knowledge development so that they can enhance their career accomplishments. The only way to achieve this is through offering career development support for all knowledge worker teams.

If an organization offers equal knowledge sharing and education advancement opportunities for all its knowledge workers, chances are that equal contribution will be expected from each and every knowledge worker (Mohanta, 2010). The result will be equal contribution from knowledge workers towards the successful attainment of the organization goals and objectives.

The support offered by an organization helps in alleviating knowledge hoarding and the feeling of inferiority amongst members’ of knowledge worker teams and fosters equal participation.

Furthermore, an organization that provides career development to a pool of its knowledge workers enhances their motivations. Such workers normally pay back through showing their commitments to the organization. They share the acquired knowledge with their knowledge worker teams, constructively participate in the decision making process and jointly work towards ensuring that clients and organizational needs are satisfactorily accomplished.

They consider the success of an organization as their success. Finally, an organization should aspire to attract, recruit, motivate and retain knowledge workers (Crowther & Gomez, 2012). This ensures that knowledge worker teams learn to understand each other, know their level of specialization and acquaintance as well as what has to be done to attain the set goals. Organizational culture will thus help knowledge workers to know, understand and do what is expected from them, hence spearheading the success of knowledge teams.

Team decision making

In the past decade, work teams have been recognized as a suitable and prevalent method for doing organizational business. Teams have been specifically applied in knowledge work area where knowledge is the actual product in terms of information, decisions or designs. Even though in knowledge work the use of work teams might be tricky given that outputs are often difficult to measure and the set goals are fuzzy, team decision making process brings workers with diverse perspectives together.

This creates a synergy with the aim of generating new ultimate products. Team decision making further helps knowledge workers to improve on the quality of decisions and reduce the amount of time required to make such decisions (Chu, 2010). The absence of team decision making often see most knowledge worker groups make and remake decisions while an issue goes through the diverse functional units which have dissimilar goals. This increases the time taken to make decisions while decreases the quality of the decision.

How such factors assist in mitigating issues within knowledge worker teams

Team decision making

Given that teams divide organizational hierarchies and flatten them out, team decision making ensures that minimal time is consumed to take decisions to the suitable parts of an organization hierarchy. This means that the hierarchical or functional barriers that exist among knowledge worker teams are brought down while the competing perspectives are brought together in decision making.

Since all knowledge worker teams are well-informed about clients’ requirements and operational issues, a decision which takes all factors into consideration is always made. If knowledge worker teams use clients goals as their success criterion, individualized goals would definitely be ignored so that the best products can be given to clients.

The whole time cycle will be abridged, thus equating to cost improvements. Besides, the synergy of various diverse perceptions tends to pool up to improve the decision making quality because those who are well-informed about the commodities jointly work with the client (McNurlin, 2009).

Effective team decision making normally relates to the knowledge worker teams processes. As a result, the authorities making decisions as regards to how teams carry out their tasks assist in building capabilities to make differences in goals attainments. This is deemed as a crucial element in knowledge workers team empowerment.

Team decision making will also help knowledge worker teams to clarify their decision responsibilities based on the internal team processes (Brake, 2008). This will in turn aid knowledge workers to have the capacity to get to the shared understanding, hence increasing team effectiveness.

Knowledge management

Most knowledge workers tend to hoard knowledge from their fellow team mates. Organizations that have apt knowledge management programs tend to reduce knowledge hoarding tendencies and spearhead knowledge sharing. This culture normally helps knowledge workers to believe that when they share knowledge, the organizational will definitely survive (Nemiro, 2008).

In fact, if the top management educates knowledge workers on the importance of knowledge sharing, the knowledge teams will build trust in fellow employees because they will belief that knowledge sharing benefits them all. This can only be ensured when the human resource management plays a critical role of teaching or training, updating and offering news that would change the mindsets of knowledge worker teams as regards to the mutual benefits that accrue from knowledge sharing.

Individuals within the knowledge worker teams always yearn to outdo their fellows. However, proper knowledge management will always alleviate individualized competitions by ensuring that they equally utilize the available resources and systems while aiming at meeting a particular set goal.

Knowledge that is generated will be shared given that performance will be jointly measured and no special consideration is given to knowledge workers who hoard knowledge (Humphrey & Over, 2010). The management should thus build and maintain knowledge workers who believe that knowledge sharing is key to organizational and knowledge worker teams’ success.

Organizational culture

In knowledge worker teams, there are always competitions that might derail the success of such groups and the organization as well. If an organization has a set of rules and regulations that must be followed by all workers, the level of knowledge sharing will definitely be apparent.

Actually, positively enhancing organization culture tend to foster team work environment where knowledge worker teams are able to find, access and apply relevant information in decision making as well as in solving organization problems (Crowther & Gomez, 2012).

Besides, equal motivation and educational advancement opportunities minimize communication barriers since all workers stand equal chances of developing their areas of weaknesses. As a result, knowledge workers are able to work together towards achieving their and goals, hence becoming successful.

References

Brake, T. (2008). Where in the world is my team? Making a success of your virtual global workplace. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Chu, S. (2010). Managing knowledge for global and collaborative innovations. Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific.

Crowther, D. & Gomez, A. M. (2012). Human dignity and managerial responsibility: Diversity, rights, and sustainability. Farnham, UK: Gower Publishing, Ltd.

Drucker, P. F. (2011). A functioning society: Selections from sixty-five years of writing on community, society, and polity. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Humphrey, W. S. & Over, J. W. (2010). Leadership, teamwork, and trust: Building a competitive software capability. Boston, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Professional.

McGonigle, D. & Mastrian, K. (2011). Book only: Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

McNurlin, B. C., Sprague, R. H., Jr., & Bui, T. (2009). Information systems management in practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Mohanta, G. (2010). Knowledge worker productivity improvement through tools and techniques. London: Lambert Academic Publishing.

Nemiro, J., Beyerlein, M., Bradley, L., & Beyerlein, S. (2008). The handbook of high-performance virtual teams: A toolkit for collaborating across boundaries. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Warren, P., Davies, J. & Simperl, E. (2011). Context and semantics for knowledge management: Technologies for personal productivity. Craftsman Book Company, Carlsbad, CA.

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