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The Importance of Motivating Knowledge Workers

This paper will be discussed the importance of knowledge workers in the whole process of Knowledge Management; a discipline that has gained a lot of importance in the current times with the importance attached to managing information in contemporary times. So ways in which companies can retain those knowledge workers will be discussed at length in the paper with regards to what motivates the knowledge workers and how can they be helpful to the company’s well-being in the future. The paper will also discuss the negatives of mismanaging the knowledge workers of the organization.

Before discussing the importance and the ways through which one can motivate the knowledge workers one should know who is a knowledge worker. The term knowledge workers mean anyone employed for handling knowledge, it may entail developing knowledge or using the knowledge. More specifically a knowledge worker acquires and deals with the knowledge in the best possible manner of getting it to the right person at the right possible time. So information handling in all aspects is the job of the knowledge worker who helps in the knowledge management in an organization.

The contemporary times call for attaching tremendous importance to the use and flow of information in and out of the company. The intellectual capital of the company as it is coming to be known nowadays is gaining popularity just like other financial assets or capital of the company. So fostering a mechanism by which one can encourage efficient knowledge sharing can go a long way in securing competitiveness for the company, of being able to make the right decision with the right information and that too by sharing the right information with the right person in the organization. (Reich, 1998)

It comes as a great shock to a company when one of such knowledge workers who has been with the company for many years leaves the company to choose another. This may be bad for the company as that knowledge worker may have had vast experience in the company knowing all the elements of the business, having the knowledge of the various activities conducted by the firm, and of course knowing the informal and formal information. So when a person leaves the company for another, he takes away that experience to the other organization who can make great use of that knowledge. So it is imperative that a company keeps a tab on its labor turnover and more importantly looks after its workforce so they do not leave the organization. (Brenner, 1999)

The Human Resources of the organization have an important role to play to avoid such experienced people leaving the organization. According to Maslow’s hierarchical needs, one needs to be given the necessities appropriately and then should be transitioned up the ladder for his accomplishment and recognition and ultimately to self-actualization. Though the theory has some flaws and shortcomings, in that the theory does not take into consideration the case of a person attaining one rung ahead of the previous in the ladder of success, but it is still regarded as the set point in which one can build further upon. So that needs to be looked at well after the Human Resources personnel. There needs to be adequate rewards and benefits for an employee who has achieved more than what was expected that is for his good performance.

Also, some commentators are now of the opinion that the Human Resources of an organization need not only to concentrate on the way it commensurates its workforce with the necessary financials but cater to other needs as well. Such may involve a shift from the traditional top-down approach in the information flow. The top-down is the model where the instructions flow downward in the hierarchy making the lower in the hierarchy recipient to the higher-up’s decisions. In these current times, such an approach is not going to help the company, so a bottom-up approach will be beneficial. In this case, the lower staff would also give their inputs and be involved in the decision-making and so would make them feel a part of the organization and give them recognition.

Moreover, the organization’s Human Resources Department needs to understand the individuality of the knowledge workers in the best possible manner and should celebrate their uniqueness rather than making them conform to one single pattern of thinking. They should encourage these knowledge workers to come up with new and innovative ideas that would give the company a competitive edge over the competitors. These ideas and inputs would then help in reengineering the processes of the company and its strategy for the long term.

Also, there needs to be some control given to the knowledge workers to take their own decision rather than instructing them authoritatively to accomplish a certain task. Besides that, to retain the knowledge workers, it is imperative that one needs to be given challenging tasks so that one realizes that one is being given work that requires responsibility and trust which would again go a long way in keeping the workforce motivated and going on. So an environment needs to be fostered which would encourage them to excel. It would not be out of place to say that the CEOs should have the vision to make the employees comfortable by having the right combination of work and fun to keep the employees in a better frame of mind.

It is important for the organization to make the knowledge workers feel a part of the organization’s intellectual capital; that each one of them is a company’s resource which will give them an edge in the market. Such an ideology will instill in the knowledge workers a sense of belonging to the company and the company’s success, so they will be more driven and motivated to work for the betterment of the organization.

There is another role of information and communication technology in this whole motivation of the knowledge workers in the knowledge management which needs to be understood by the company’s management; that the technology has an important role in making the knowledge management process more fruitful for the organization. Such technology will help in getting the right information to the right person at the right time in the most efficient sort of manner with the most perfect medium in the organization. So technology has a role to play in the knowledge management process of the company. But undue importance attached to technology will not only be the solution to the motivation of the knowledge workers as technology just facilitates them.

Knowledge management is going to be an integral part of a company’s strategy with the ever-changing times of the industry. More so retaining the valuable workforce is going to be important as they have inside information into the company’s processes and the general state of affairs. So motivating them should not only include taking care of the monetary packages but would entail more work done on their internal accomplishments and sense of belonging.


Brenner, P. (1999) Motivating Knowledge Workers: The Role of the Workplace.

Reich, R. (1998). The Company of the Future. Fast Company.

Garavelli, C, Sebastiano, M, Coviello, A. (2003). Theme2 How Motivating Knowledge Workers.


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