IBM and Peter F. Drucker: The Importance of Knowledge Workers
Transmitting Knowledge Builds Corporate Power
We cannot afford arrogance among knowledge workers. Knowledge is power which is why people who had it in the past often tried to make a secret of it. In knowledge work, power comes from transmitting information to make it productive, not from hiding it.
That means you have to be intolerant of intellectual arrogance. At whatever level, knowledge people must make themselves understood, and whatever field the manager comes from, he or she must be eager to understand others. This may be the main job of the manager of technical people. he or she must not only be an interpreter but also work out a balance between specialization and exposure. ... in the knowledge-based organization, the highbrow and the lowbrow have to play on the same team.
Peter F. Drucker
Management (Revised Edition)
"The Manager of Tomorrow" 1973
IBM Must Transfer Knowledge
"The future of International Business Machines Corporation, and of every person connected with the company, depends not upon the amount of time we spend in study; but upon what we learn and upon our ability to transfer our knowledge to the newcomers in the business so that they may keep step with the pace of IBM—a pace which is constantly increasing!
Every member of The IBM organization should be both a teacher and a student."
Thomas. J. Watson Sr.
The World's Greatest Salesman
"Study - the Master Key to Future Growth," 1930
Tom Watson Sr., decades before Peter F. Drucker would capture the concept of a new knowledge-worker based society, understood the importance of disseminating knowledge within his corporation's four walls. If the organizational structure of the 21st century is geographic dispersal not only across but within national boundaries with home offices, how will a corporation survive if the sense of organizational loyalty is replaced with self preservation? Are American Corporations still optimized as in Watson's IBM to retain the best knowledge workers? Do modern day corporate policies encourage selfless dissemination yet critical retention of knowledge within the organization?
Peter E. Greulich Insight
April 4, 2013
April 4, 2013
Peter E. Greulich is an author, publisher and public speaker.
He has written three books on IBM and three essays on Thomas J. Watson Sr.’s leadership during the Great Depression. His latest book, Think Again!: IBM CAN Maximize Shareholder Value is a sweeping historical look at IBM and its nine chief executives. It puts a spotlight on IBM's current human resource practices in light of IBM’s time-tested, human-relationship achievements.
THINK Again! is a different perspective from Louis V. Gerstner’s Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance. Pete's thoughts are always a view from beneath—the perspective of an IBM employee-owner. IBMers with stories to share can reach Pete at IBMers @ mbiconcepts.com.