The Human Element of the Knowledge Worker: Identifying, Managing, and Protecting the Intellectual Capital within Knowledge Management

The Human Element of the Knowledge Worker: Identifying, Managing, and Protecting the Intellectual Capital within Knowledge Management

Ben Tran (Alliant International University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4679-7.ch017
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Abstract

The goal of Knowledge Management (KM) is a practical one: to improve organizational capabilities through better use of the organization’s individual and collective knowledge resources. Astonishingly, despite the now-solid consensus on the importance of knowledge or intellectual capital to every organization’s success, most organizations actually manage knowledge very badly. Very few have clearly defined management roles, such as Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO), or organizational structures for the management of knowledge as a resource. Thus, the paramount protection of knowledge is not the type of knowledge itself, but the human element of the knowledge worker within knowledge management. In so doing, this chapter covers the human element of the Knowledge Worker (KW), the Learning Organization (LO) (organizations that are good at Organizational Learning [OL]), the history and meaning of knowledge, types of knowledge, and concludes with the protection of the human element of the KW.
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Knowledge Worker

Drucker (1968) is generally credited with popularizing the term knowledge worker. However, the terms, knowledge work and knowledge workers, are often used but seldom defined. When knowledge work is defined, it is usually by broad measures such as by title or by education level (Brinkley, Fauth, Mahdon, & Theodoropoulou, 2009). As such, knowledge workers, used here, are workers, which include leaders and innovators, who most frequently engage in tasks requiring specialist knowledge in addition to codified knowledge to assist the firm in gaining competitive advantage via intellectual capital to obtain financial revenues and increase the firm’s return-on-invest (ROI).

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