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The New Knowledge Workers

Dariusz Jemielniak, Associate Professor of Management and Head, Center for Research on Organizations and Workplaces (CROW), Kozminski University, Poland
This critical ethnographic study of knowledge workers and knowledge-intensive organization workplaces focuses on the issues of timing and schedules, the perception of formality and trust and distrust in software development as well as motivation and occupational identity among software engineers.
Extent: 192 pp
Hardback Price: £70.00 Web: £63.00
Publication Date: 2012
ISBN: 978 1 84844 753 0
Availability: In Stock
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  • Business and Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Organisational Innovation
  • Innovation and Technology
  • Organisational Innovation
This critical ethnographic study of knowledge workers and knowledge-intensive organization workplaces focuses on the issues of timing and schedules, the perception of formality and trust and distrust in software development as well as motivation and occupational identity among software engineers.

The book is a cross-cultural, comparative study of American and European high-tech workplaces that addresses the issues currently of interest to both Academia and to practice and provides a rare international comparison of organizations from both sides of the Atlantic. Its conclusions shed new light on the problems typical for software projects. The book specifically focuses on, and gives voice to, the perspectives of knowledge workers rather than managers and will thus be useful to not only scholars and human resource managers from software companies, but also to high-tech professionals.

Scholars and professionals in organization studies, management, HRM, innovation and knowledge management will find this book engaging and enlightening.
‘The knowledge worker is a welcome addition to the ethnographic investigation of high-tech work. The author’s thoughtful comparative approach, contrasting the oft-studied American knowledge workers with their less familiar Polish counterparts, offers a refreshing take on the post industrial workplace and demonstrates once again the profound changes that high-tech work has made in the nature of work, the worker and the workplace, far beyond Silicon Valley.’
– Gideon Kunda, Tel Aviv University, Israel

‘The body of research addressing knowledge-intensive and creative work is massive and is quickly growing, but Dariusz Jemielniak manages to bring some new issues and perspectives to the table in his carefully designed study of the Polish and American computer programming community, making concepts such as time, trust, and motivation constitutive elements of contemporary knowledge work. Being able to bring together ethnographic research and organization theory and social science more broadly, The New Knowledge Workers is a significant contribution to the understanding of contemporary working life in the so-called “knowledge society”.’
– Alexander Styhre, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

‘Jemielniak’s book combines detailed comparative ethnographic observations with organizational analysis to highlight how little we actually know about the operations of knowledge-intensive organizations. Arguing that ancient commonplaces about a “greener”, more egalitarian, post-Taylorist future rely on ignoring real-time observations of real people in context, Jemielniak’s portrait of the knowledge society of the 21st century shows it to be more like the Fordist society of the 20th century than the utopia so many futurists choose to imagine. His book tells us it is time to begin observing again if we wish to “know” rather than “believe” what the future holds for us.’
– Davydd J. Greenwood, Cornell University, US
Contents: 1. Outline of the Research Project 2. Work 3. Knowledge-intensive Organizations 4. Knowledge Workers 5. Research Methods and the Organizations Studied 6. Modern Bureaucracies 7. High Time in High-tech 8. Trust in Knowledge Work 9. Pleasure, Motivation and Identity in Knowledge Work Summary References Index