Peter Drucker on Knowledge Worker Productivity

In the Winter of 1999, Peter Drucker published an article on “Knowledge Worker Productivity: The Biggest Challenge.” Here is access to the article.

“The most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st century is similarly to increase the productivity of knowledge work and knowledge workers.”

He was looking for a 50 times increase in knowledge worker productivity.

“Six major factors determine knowledge-worker productivity.”

  • Knowledge-worker productivity demands that we ask the question: “What is the task?”
  • It demands that we impose the responsibility for their productivity on the individual workers themselves. Knowledge Workers have to manage themselves. They have to have autonomy.
  • Continuing innovation has to be part of the work, the task and the responsibility of knowledge workers.
  • Knowledge work requires continuous learning on the part of the worker, but equally continuous teaching on the part of the knowledge worker.
  • Productivity of the knowledge worker is not — at least not primarily — a matter of the quantity of output. Quality is at least as important.
  • Finally, knowledge-worker productivity requires that the knowledge worker is both seen and treated as an “asset” rather than a ”cost.” It requires that knowledge workers want to work for the organization in preference to all other opportunities.

Very interesting ideas, I think, and useful to you.

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