The mis-usage of knowledge workers…

In our previous blog we talked about the 5 dysfunctions in organisations and why they exist. In this blog we will further elaborate about innovations and the mis-usage of knowledge workers that is happening in todays organisations. We will also outline a possible why forward.

As we stated earlier innovation matters more than ever. With innovation, your organization stays relevant. It continues to evolve and bring wealth to society. In a world that is moving faster and faster, innovation becomes a matter of life and death.

The dysfunctions are interconnected, but sufficiently distinct to be mentioned separately:

  • Low pressure to change
  • Inability to handle uncertainty
  • Striving for safety
  • Ineffective use of knowledge workers
  • Confused Leadership

Please see our previous blog post if you like to learn more about the 5 dysfunctions.

In this blog we will discuss the mis-usage of knowledge workers and how that are negatively affected by short comings and the 5 dysfunctions.

Several studies performed by many different institutes show that knowledge workers are misused due to poorly designed processes, teams and tools related to their roles and responsibilities and an IT-systems that does not provide them with right information at the time  or at a location where they need it.  The system must support the knowledge worker, not the other way around.

Knowledge workers tend to spend more and more time in searching and coordinating data instead of analysing and innovating to find new and better solutions to solve customers situations.

Despite smart products, big data, small data or any data this mis-usage will continue for yet a long time.

Before we go into what can be improved, lets discuss why this happening?


We have discovered and found out that there are at least seven deadly sins in misuse of knowledge workers. The sins can be described as follows:

  • Assuming that IT-side and systems are the solution to everything. It does not work this way.
  • Putting the IT-side cart before business horse. OK, when will we learn that it is not the right way to go?
  • Underestimating cost and time in finding the right solution and not even calculating what the cost is by providing the wrong solution year after year.
  • Delegating information/ knowledge management to the Information System side, who is not in the value creation flow. So how can they find the right solution?
  • Installing solutions that do not provide strategic information that would help knowledge workers create value. There are large “white spaces between Strategy and IT-side.
  • Installing solutions that do not provide value creation information. OK, so why installing them in first place?
  • Current solutions foster a mis-usage of knowledge workers’ time, leaving them with a feeling of being stuck.. This is a core Top Executive problem

We have summarised the problem with the current way of designing process, methods and tools for knowledge workers in the following matrix. We have also described a possible way to improve the situation:

Criteria Today Future
Origin  Source of data not sufficiently documented Source of origin is always documented and easy to detect
 Traceability  Traceability of used documents and data difficult All data points are stored and easy to trace, re-use and share
 Validation  Whether documents are validated not easy to detect All used documents are validated and labelled
 Working Method  Lack of systematic usage of methods and tools Stable, documented and shared with everybody in the organization
 Re-use of knowledge Lack of knowledge-transfer process Enabling re-use of knowledge and knowledge transfer
Effectiveness  Current way of working creates a lot of starts and stops. Smooth flow, time efficient and enables focus
Systematic approach  Current way of working relies on individuals Systematic approach easy to use
 Access to competence  Right people at the right place at the right time is very difficult to achieve Facilitate work independent of time and space
  Creativity  Current way of working strangles what knowledge workers do best, finding creative solutions to problems. Enabling creative problem solving


Many companies are missing a Content Strategy and a design that is in compliance with that Content Strategy. Just defining what content is, is a big step forward. Another missing solution is to design a proper and modern Enterprise Content Management (ECM) that will enable and minimise time spent in searching and coordinating data.

An Enterprise Content Management (ECM) comprises the strategies, methods, and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes and resource management.

The technologies included in ECM include document management, records management, imaging, workflow management, web content management, analytics, common definitions and collaboration.

ECM delivers analytics to functions in order to:

  • explain – products, conditions and operations
  • indicate – GAPs and performance
  • predict – patterns and future requirements
  • prescribe – measurements in order to KEEP, PREVENT and IMPROVE (KPI).

Digitalization is a big transformation that is happening now and it must start at the Human Side. Put co-workers in charge of designing the processes, methods and tools that they need for creating solutions that were not possible before.  Design the system with and through the knowledge workers, not the other way around!

More about digitalization and SMART processes in our coming blogs. Stay tuned.

Posted in Hi3

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