knowledge
worker manual


what is a knowledge worker?
by definition
Peter Drucker was the first (that we know of) to coin the term, Knowledge Worker. He describes the character of knowledge workers: Knowledge Workers are not satisfied with work that is only a livelihood. Their aspirations and their view of themselves are those of the "professional" or "intellectual." They demand that knowledge become the basis for accomplishment.

Knowledge workers expect to achieve and they want to be measured for their actual performance. Knowledge workers require that the demands be made on them by knowledge rather than by bosses - by objectives rather than by people. They require a performance-oriented organization rather than an authority-oriented organization. Although Knowledge Workers respect and acknowledge authority and responsibility within the hierarchical structure, they also recognize that knowledge work itself knows no hierarchy - knowledge is either relevant to a given task or irrelevant to it. The task decides not the name, the age, or the budget of the discipline, or the rank of the individual plying it.

Knowledge then has to be organized as a team in which the task decides who is in charge, when, for what, and for how long. (See The Age of Discontinuity, by Peter Drucker, 1968.)

by experience
Knowledge Workers are a flexible and interconnected team that comes together for days or weeks, designs a strategy, executes the tasks, synthesizes the results and ships a product for the participants that recalls their experience and the outcomes that emerged from their experience.

The same team of knowledge workers do not work together every day. Knowledge workers rarely work with the exact same KreW twice.

KreWs consist of knowledge workers with varying degrees of experience. Each time a team of knowledge workers gather they are joined by an explorer (potential knowledge worker). The team is made up of teachers and learners, experts and stewards.

So how can we be a high performance team when we've never met? How can we understand the work if we've never been here before? The processes and tools that we have discovered since being a part of the MG Taylor network give us a common language, common understanding, and common purpose.

The knowledge workers of the MG Taylor and Borgess Health Alliance ValueWebs™ come together from all over the country and the local Kalamazoo area to work in the NavCenter and support activities and events.