Understanding the Knowledge Worker Revolution – Nu Leadership Series

“ Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery.

Warren G. Bennis

Let’s continue to build on why today’s leaders fail the knowledge worker. Morgan, author of Imagination, argues that contemporary use organizational charts and diagrams as the major tools for restructuring. However, this creates a false sense that a new organization chart can solve all of the organization’s problems. Modern-day bosses feel that “top down” management is best. Clearly, they are mistaken.

For example, my friend, Stan, is a very intelligent person in spite of not attending college. He accepted a new job as warehouse operator. Because of downsizing, he became the only person in that department. Stan created his own cataloging system without a computer. That was impressive.

When Stan was up for a raise, he asked for more money. His supervisor explained that it couldn’t be done. My friend countered that he had optimized their warehouse systems, and the operations depended on his knowledge. His supervisor knew it was true because when Stan wasn’t there, no one could find anything.

Stan got what he wanted. He had become a knowledge commodity. This represents the revolution of knowledge workers upon the traditional organizational structure. Therefore, if today’s leaders don’t adequately manage the knowledge workforce, they will be at a competitive disadvantage.


Morgan, G. (1997). Imagination. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Drucker, P. (2000). Managing knowledge means managing oneself. Received on May 19, 2006 from http://www.pfdf.org/leaderbooks/L2L/spring2000/drucker.html.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green