Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Autonomy in knowledge work

From Peter Drücker's book:

Knowledge work requires both autonomy and accountability

Demanding of knowledge workers that they define their own task and its results is necessary because knowledge workers must be autonomous. As knowledge varies among different people, even in the same field, each knowledge worker carries his or her own unique set of knowledge. With this specialized, unique knowledge, each worker should know more about his or her specific area than anyone else in the organization. Indeed, knowledge workers must know more about their areas than anyone else; they are paid to be knowledgeable in their fields.

What this means is that once each knowledge worker has defined his or her own task and once the work has been appropriately restructured, each worker should be expected to work out his or her own course and to take responsibility for it. Knowledge workers should be asked to think through their own work plans and then to submit them. What am I going to focus on? What results can be expected for which I should be held accountable? By what deadline?

Knowledge work requires both autonomy and accountability.

ACTION POINT: Write a work plan that includes your focus, desired results and deadline. Submit it to your boss.

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