Knowledge work management – the concept
The Goals and Visions of Knowledge Work and Learning Arrangements
It is necessary for Europe’s enterprises to be more effective and efficient in their work to be more competitive. At the same time the quality of both working life and the working conditions for the employee must not suffer, and these are just some of the aims. So, the main goal is to help to improve working conditions for knowledge and e-workers.
Knowledge work does not know any frontiers. As a result of growing international co-operation, different corporate cultures and structures are bound to meet and they have to maintain their standing in industrial relations more than ever and prove their economic performance capability.
Knowledge products transfer knowledge from staff and traditional media (like manuals) about “classical” products or service products into multimedia format. So, the added-value lies in supplying all different user groups with information, training and qualification needs. To understand the product at their individual working task. Because products get more and more complex and are designed in short hfecycles they have to be explained.
Development of a knowledge product starts simultaneously with the production process and is integrated into the engineering processes. A knowledge product is a service offered in addition to a classic product from any branch of industry. Knowledge products get more popular because companies compete on markets that are very often turbulent. Market entrance barriers against imitators of “classic” products are often very low.
Hitherto, employees have primarily been regarded as cost factors by their employers. Nowadays, it is recognised that there is an advantage in employing highly qualified and motivated staff The human resource is the most valuable resource of a company. Human resource management and organisational development grow together and require new concepts to make work more productive and attractive.
One possible concept is to enable the employee to learn while fulfilhng working tasks. This means arranging work in a way that provides learning incentives and connects knowledge management with learning by using new technologies. (Kerres, 2001) Traditionally, research has focused on the transfer of knowledge from those who know to those who do not know.
But most learning takes place as informally situated and context-related leaming, closely connected to the respective activity. The Instant-Quahfication supports this new view of learning. For this training form, a new communication scheme is required.
Knowledge Product: Considering an Example in Thermo Technique Production
The example is the transfer from a contemporary gas furnace of a global acting company into a knowledge product to satisfy information, training and qualification needs. It shows a new multimedia training and qualification solution for all user groups to support the use of or maintain the gas furnace. In the example, the knowledge products aspects from the maintenance staff are outhned. The maintenance of a gas furnace is hosted by the company’s own staff and by third parties. Maintenance staff has to know the functionality of the furnace, the different options for normal operation, the different errors that can occur and has to acquire problem solving competence.
Instant-Qualification: Considering an Example in the Lorry Production
The example is the certification of lorries at the end of a production line. It offers a perspective on new educational environments. The “surroundings” of the employee is the interface. The input is the position of the employee – physically as well as in the working process. The output is a sound instruction on what to do at the lorry at the respective place in the working process. The worker can use all senses intuitively. The leaming task is not based on writing and reading. In the example the information is given to the employee as if an expert were standing by his side.
The main result of the knowledge product concept is that it works! Installing a prototype of a training and qualification (knowledge) resource for the gas furnace enables workers in maintenance to improve their effectiveness. Yesterday, even alpha teams had problems to find solutions for unusual errors. Today, with access to this work process-oriented knowledge resource with anytime – anywhere accessibility, the service performance of maintenance staff has been much improved.