Motivation for Knowledge Work

Motivation for Knowledge Work

Paul H.J. Hendriks (Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands) and Ce´lio A.A. Sousa (Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-573-3.ch086
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The importance of motivation in knowledge work is generally acknowledged. With lacking motivation, the quality of the products of knowledge work is bound to drop dramatically. Without work motivation, individual knowledge workers may direct their efforts to their individual needs at the expense of organization goals or decide to leave the firm. Creativity, knowledge teamwork, knowledge sharing, and other knowledge processes depend on the motivation of knowledge workers. Lacking sustained motivation in association with an insufficiently knowledge-friendly culture has often been mentioned as the principal culprit for failed knowledge management (KM) initiatives and programs (Davenport, DeLong, & Beers, 1998; McKenzie, Truc, & Winkelen, 2001). Several traits of knowledge workers explain, so it is argued, why prevailing work motivation programs will not work when applied to knowledge workers: they have high needs for autonomy, their career formation is external to the organization, they are loyal to their networks of peers and to their profession rather than to the organization that employs them, and the exact form and sequence of their work processes cannot be fully predicted (Despres & Hiltrop, 1996).

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