Knowledge Obsolescence and the Future of Work: Relevance of Knowledge and Impact to Jobs

Knowledge Obsolescence and the Future of Work: Relevance of Knowledge and Impact to Jobs

Bobby Varanasi
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7126-2.ch009
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The chapter delves into a range of influencing factors that are governing individual and corporate behavior, driven both by changing human circumstances—economic, social, and environmental—as well as rapid changes to organizational cultures and endeavors—models, markets, governance, customers, competition. A veritable confluence of these factors is impinging into workplaces in a never-before-seen manner, particularly in its inherent complexity and constant change. Jobs are being redefined, created, and eliminated at the same time, putting significant pressure on individuals seeking to pursue careers. Knowledge acquired over a certain period is becoming quickly obsolete, resulting in people having to shift gears quickly. Most fail, with consequences impacting both social structures and organizational cultures. Individual behavior is significantly deteriorating toward colloquialism driven by a sense of victimization. How do we address all these challenges and stay on top of the future? This chapter's aim is to distill the answers to this question.
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Workplace Ambiguities

Let’s set the context first. Talent is changing. Education is abundant. And technologies are creating new opportunities at the learning and deployment ends of the spectrum in a more pervasive manner. Structural changes in the workplace can be painful, but ultimately progressive. Various new techniques driven by machine learning, deep learning, and AI are opening new vistas to gaining business insights. Such tools are also being utilized – particularly in medical sciences - to resolve some thorny issues.

Deployment of such tools in businesses is resulting in greater efficiencies, but increasingly diluting the role of people as a factor of production. While this has a direct impact on “employed workforce”, organizations have begun to deploy off balance-sheet talent through the adoption of an open talent continuum. These shifts are forcing us to reconsider the role of individuals, organizations, hierarchies, accountability workflows, labor laws et al. Re-imagining the workplace is possible. However questions remain on the nature of evolution, unavoidable disruptions, resistance to change, and dealing with lost opportunities. We believe this question is best addressed not by looking at the impacted, but by the forces shaping such changes – changing customer behavior, demographics, globalized marketplaces, virtual platforms and the interactions that take place amongst these forces.

We believe there are three distinct forces influencing the world we live in today. These forces are shaping the future of workplace and consequently, human behavior within contexts of society and economies. We term these forces as the Briquettes (Varanasi, 2019).

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