The Grey Chronicles

2009.February.9

Knowledge is NOT Wisdom


Most people attributed that Peter Drucker coined the word: Knowledge Worker

“Every knowledge worker in modern organization is an executive if, by virtue of his position or knowledge, he is responsible for a contribution that materially affects the capacity of the organization to perform and to obtain results.” (Drucker, 1966)

The Age of Discontinuity

Peter Drucker:
The Age of Discontinuity

In succeeding books, Drucker (1969) predicts that the new industries — different from the traditional ‘modern’ industry — will employ predominantly knowledge workers rather than manual workers. He claims that the major changes in society would be brought about by information. He argues that knowledge has become the central, key resource that knows no geography. The defining characteristic of these knowledge workers is the level of their formal education. Thus education and development, and to some degree training, will be the central concern of a knowledge society.

The New Realities

Peter Drucker:
The New Realities

Later in The New Realities, (1989) he discusses some political realities–the governmental and political process, the economy, ecology, economics, and the new knowledge society. “Information is indeed conceptual. But meaning is not; it is perception,” he wrote. “Information is data endowed with relevance and purpose. Converting data into information thus requires knowledge. And knowledge, by definition, is specialized.”

Going beyond the work of Drucker, Kidd (1994) identified three particular characteristics of knowledge workers challenging established views:

Diversity of Output. Companies value knowledge workers for their diversity.
Low Dependence on Filed Information. Knowledge workers do not carry much written information with them when they travel.
Importance of Spacial Layout and Materials. Many knowledge workers have extremely cluttered desks and floors and yet are seriously disrupted by changes made to this apparent “muddle” or by needing to move offices regularly.

The World Is Flat

Thomas Friedman:
The World Is Flat

Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (2005) ushered the connection of all the knowledge centers on the planet together into a single global network. What Friedman means by flat is connected: the lowering of trade and political barriers and the exponential technical advances of the digital revolution have made it possible to do business, or almost anything else, instantaneously with billions of other people across the planet. In an article published in Newsweek’s Issues 2006, he wrote:

“Individual have authored their own content since cave men and women were painting on walls. But once they could do it in digital form, the power of ideas would trump the might of armies in world affairs.” (Friedman, 2005)

“The problem with knowledge, is that, unlike information, it typically does not reside on paper. Instead, it lives inside people’s heads.” (Sarkar, 2002). With the advent of computers and the Internet, moreover, these information although now in digitized form: 0s and 1s, but still somewhere in the network, are just lying in wait for some knowledge worker to tinker and make use of.

“Knowledge can produce equally powerful ways to destroy life, intentionally and unintentionally. It can produce hate and seek destruction. . . It does not produce good sense, courage, generosity and tolerance. And most crucially, it does not prduce the farsightedness that will allow us all to live together—and grow together—on this world without causing war, chaos and catastrophe. For that we need wisdom.” (Zakaria 2005) Emphasis supplied


Notes:

Drucker, Peter (1967), The Effective Executive, USA: HarperCollins, February 1967. 192pp. back to text

Drucker, Peter (1969), The Age of Discontinuity, USA: HarperCollins, January 1969. 402pp. back to text

Drucker, Peter (1989), The New Realities: In Government and Politics/in Economics and Business/in Society and World View , USA: HarperCollins, June 1989. 276pp. back to text

Friedman, Thomas L. (2005), The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, USA: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, April 2005. pp 1-488. back to text

Friedman, Thomas L. (2005n), The Exhausting Race for Ideas, New York: Newsweek Special Edition—Issues 2006: The Knowledge Revolution, December 2005-February 2006. pp. 10-12. back to text

Kidd, Alison (1994), The Marks are on the Knowledge Worker, Proceedings of CHI ’94: Celebrating Interdependence, Boston, Massachussets, 24-28 April 1994. Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 186-191. back to text

Sarkar, Christian (2002), Knowledge Management: A Cautionary Tale, 2002. 3pp. back to text

Zakaria, Fareed (2005), The Earth’s Learning Curve, New York: Newsweek Special Edition—Issues 2006: The Knowledge Revolution, December 2005-February 2006. pp. 6-8. back to text

Disclaimer : The posts on this site are my own and doesn’t necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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