Do you earn what you deserve?
Strange question – difficult question – far-reaching question.
Kmbeing has asked in his Kmbits & Kmbytes: How do we measure knowledge?
This is one of the old questions of Knowledge Management. Many methods have been proposed to measure this intangible asset (see Sveiby for Methods for Measuring Intangible Assets, and overview of 34 methods with links). Decision makers are keen to quantify and to calculate the effect of their measures, at last they are interested in the Return Of Investment. The fact that there is not general accepted and feasible way of measuring knowledge has put Knowledge Management a bit into the esoteric corner (some even provoke not to talk KM when executing, don't do KM), leaving the biggest company asset (knowledge) as the least managed one. Managers decided to see the question more as a philosophical one and put their efforts elsewhere.
Detour 1: From the theorectical point one can happily argue whether knowledge is the relevant parameter in the first place, or whether knowledge flow or speed of knowledge flow, reach of knowledge or the knowledge network is the key parameter, but also these are not very practical to quantify and to measure. End Detour 1.
Well, this is the beauty of twitter, at the same time Oscar Berg was retweeting and discussing: "“At work” now refers to a state or condition rather than a place. People don’t telecommute or telework..."
A completely different story? Not really, if we agree that the quote describes the typical work patterns of knowledge work. Knowledge work at all times, and the change is not the work patterns of knowledge work, but that knowledge work becomes the mainstream work pattern as we enter the knowledge industry large scale.
Detour 2: In minutes the list of impact areas grew in our conversation: work law, management styles, performance measurement, work equipment. You are very welcome to continue the list. End Detour 2.
Knowledge workers and even more Knowledge Citizens deploy different work patterns and different deliverables: knowledge, something that we have hard times to measure.
So if work for a Knowledge Citizen is a state of mind, and the work deliverable is knowledge, a rather glibbery fish to catch, for sure the compensation scheme of the attendance clock is inadequate – to put it mildly. The esoteric question of Knowledge Managers becomes the essence of what Human Resources over the globe and over many industries should think about.
(Another indication of the difficulties is another old problem of KM: How to incentivize Knowledge Sharing, Carrots and Sticks don't work)
The traditional effort based compensation is out-dated for Knowledge Citizens (For
’s famous apple, it didn’t take long to deploy the gravitational law). Newton
And again an old quote serves for a new twist: “Knolwedge has no value” (in itself for the corporate, if not used). The value of knowledge for the company is the value that is created with the knowledge. The Knowledge Citizen deserves a value-based compensation. Of course in the corporate this is reflected to some extent (the CEO earns usually a tiny bit more than the junior engineer). But it is the definition of employment that the market is intermitted, while values are best determined by a market (remember the idea of the Knowledge Market / Marketplace).
I know we are travelling hard, but it might be worth it: I foresee that the knolwedge industry as relying on value-based compensation deploys self-employment and micro-entrepreneurship as the leading business model. Early indications these days run under the term “Open Innovation”. Then the Corporate Knowledge Citizen would become a Global Knowledge Citizen. Wonder where this thought leads to?
Although they might not agree and follow my conclusions, this post is built on the extremely fruitful discussions with Kmbeing and Oscar Berg. Thanks!