Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Knowledge; Knowledge Work; Information; Stratification; Class Analysis; KBE; Education; Work.
Brint, S. (2001). Professionals and the 'knowledge economy': Rethinking the theory of postindustrial society. Current Sociology, 49(4), 101-132.
The author provides evidence that the Scientific-Professional Knowledge (SPK) economy is a sizeable, but far from predominant, part of the larger economy. He criticizes the tendency of most of the early theorists to assume either a linear or ‘S-curve’ growth in the size and influence of the knowledge economy. He shows that a meaningful conception of the knowledge economy must have a more realistic sense of subsector dynamics to replace the simplistic notions of linearly expanding influence that marred much of the earlier visionary work on the SPK economy. He argues that structural influences on the growth of particular industries in the knowledge economy (including the potential for productivity gains in the different SPK industries, demographic changes related to demand for services, and legal environment-influencing relationships between universities, government and corporations) are necessary features of an adequate social science understanding of this growing sector of the economy. Finally, he differentiates five major subsectors of the SPK economy and show that the conditions and opportunities at work faced by professionals vary greatly by the subsector in which they are employed. In the conclusion of the article, the author uses this reformulation of the knowledge economy idea to discuss why the social changes associated with the coming of a professionally dominated, knowledge-based postindustrial society have not, by and large, come to pass.
KEY WORDS: Knowledge; KBE; Knowledge-Based Economy; Professional; Post-Industrialism; Management; Management Theory.

Brown, P. (2000). The globalisation of positional competition? Sociology, 34(4), 633-653.


The paper examines the impact of economic globalisation on competition for a livelihood. He suggests that centre-left Modernisers, which include New Labour in Britain and the Democrats in the USA, assume that globalisation has transformed the nature of positional class conflict. These groups argue that the absolute standards of educational achievement, rather than the relative standing of credential holders within local or national labour markets, are of primary importance. Drawing on neo-Weberian theories of social closure, the author argues that the Modernisers' description of the global labour market and its impact on positional class conflict is flawed. He suggests that existing theories of social closure be developed in terms of what is called Positional Conflict Theory.
KEY WORDS: Academic Achievement; Competition; Social Class; Globalization; Sociological Perspectives; Work and Learning.
Brown, P., Hesketh, A., & Williams, S. (2004). The mismanagement of talent: Employability and jobs in the knowledge economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
This book examines what makes a 'knowledge worker' employable and argues that the demand for 'knowledge workers' is not nearly so great as is often claimed by governments. The authors also examine government policies aimed at encouraging employability, particularly UK higher education policies and argues that employability policies must take account of the positional conflicts of candidates.
KEY WORDS: Knowledge Workers; UK; United States.

Brown, P., & Lauder, H. (2006). Globalisation, knowledge and the myth of the magnet economy. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 4(1), 25-57.


This article examines the dominant view of the changing relationship between education, jobs and rewards in the global knowledge economy. This asserts that the developed economies can resolve issues of individual aspirations, economic efficiency and social justice through the creation of a high-skills, high-wage `magnet' economy. Here the authors examine four of the key dimensions of this account and argue that while there has been a fundamental change in the relationship between education, economy and society, their conclusions are far removed from the assumptions that currently inform public and policy debates.
KEY WORDS: Globalization; Education; Knowledge Economy; Magnet Economy; Skills.

Bryson, J. (2000, October 24-26). Building a knowledge-based economy and society. Paper presented at the Conference Capitalising on Knowledge: The Information Profession in the 21st Century, Canberra, Australia. Retrieved December 28, 2006, from http://conferences.alia.org.au/ alia2000/proceedings/jo.bryson.html.


This paper provides an overview of the forces shaping the future of the knowledge economy and society, including: the speed and type of change that is occurring; the technologies that are propelling it; the technology and information choices that competitors are making; which organizations are in the lead; who has the most to gain and to lose; the investment strategies of competitors vis-a-vis the trends; and the variety of ways these trends may influence customers' demands and needs. The characteristics of a global information economy and society are identified, focusing on the four building blocks of infrastructure provision, lifelong learning, economic growth, and service delivery. National strategies for Singapore, the European Union, and Australia are considered, as is the role of libraries and information services in the global information economy and society.
KEY WORDS: Economic Change; Foreign Countries; Futures of Society; Global Approach; Information Services; Information Technology; Library Role; Lifelong Learning; National Programs; Social Change.

Carlsen, A., Klev, R., & von Krogh, G. (2004). Living knowledge: Foundations and frameworks. In A. Carlsen, R. Klev & G. von Krogh (Eds.), Living knowledge: The dynamics of professional service work (pp. 1-19). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


The authors take a fairly conventional approach to knowledge work, or what they specify as professional service work, arguing there are a growing number of jobs that involve non-routine and problem-solving activity. The authors reject the reification of knowledge, rather studying knowledge only through those activity systems where knowledge is applied and acquired.
KEY WORDS: Knowledge Work; Knowledge Workers; KBE; Professional; Knowledge; Knowledge Management.

Carsten, J. (2007). Constitutive knowledge: Tracing trajectories of information in new contexts of relatedness. Anthropological Quarterly, 80(2), 403-426.


The author explore increased access to information as a key feature of globalization, asking how new kinds of kinship information and kinship knowledge affect Western practices of kinship, or a Western "sense of self?" With specific emphasis on the effects of new kinds of information on family ties, the author examines the place of certain kinds of knowledge in Western idioms and practices of relatedness and personhood. Topics covered include the role of information and knowledge in pre-natal testing, in adoptive kinship, in the searches undertaken by adoptees for their birth kin, and in transfers of bodily substance infertility treatment. These topics provide some specific contexts to understand the way that kinship knowledge contributes to people's sense of connectedness to their relatives, and to their own sense of identity. Rather than assuming a clear trajectory from a world of ascribed ties to one in which such ties are achieved, the author highlights some of the more complex processes which people put to work when they constitute themselves through their various kinds of relations.
KEY WORDS: Knowledge; Anthropology; Globalization; Kinship; Social Practices.

Castells, M. (2004). The network society: A cross-cultural perspective. Northhampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.


Castells writes that technology cannot be considered independently of its social context. He presents 19 contributed articles inquiring into some key themes in various cultural and institutional contexts. These themes offer theoretical discussion of the network society. Analysis of processes of technological transformation in Silicon Valley, Finland, Russia, China, and the UK are provided. Subsequent chapters discuss the economy, sociability and social structure, the public interest, social movements and politics, and identity, culture, globalization, the hacker ethic, and a historian's view.
KEY WORDS: Information Society; Cross-Cultural Studies.

Coe, N. M., Johns, J., & Ward, K. (2007). Mapping the globalization of the temporary staffing industry. The Professional Geographer, 59(4), 503-520.


Very little is currently known about the globalization of the temporary staffing industry, a strategically significant sector given its role in promulgating wider labor market flexibility. This article starts to rectify this research lacuna in four ways: by conceptualizing the international expansion of temporary staffing and comparing it to other business service sectors, by identifying and mapping the top twenty transnational staffing agencies, by offering a typology of the leading transnational agencies based on their functional and geographic characteristics, and by charting a research agenda for future work on this sector.
KEY WORDS: Globalization; Precarious Employment; Nonstandard Employment; Temporary Jobs.

Cortada, J. (Ed.). (1998). Rise of the knowledge worker. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.


This book traces the history and evolution of the "knowledge worker," a term coined to describe employees in the Information Age who do mental as opposed to manual labor, and provides insights and conjecture as to the future role of such workers.
KEY WORDS: Knowledge Workers; Knowledge Management; Intellectual Capital.

Cully, M. (2003). Pathways to knowledge work. Retrieved March 22, 2006, from http://www.ncver.edu.au/research/proj/nr0022.pdf


A study examined how the occupational structure of the Australian labor market evolved and how individuals fared in the process. It identified issues in defining skill and knowledge and followed Elias and McKnight (2001) in stating that sufficient evidence showed a very high correlation between job-required cognitive ability and ordinal skill ranking. Prong 1 of an empirical approach examined census data on occupational composition of employment from 1986-2000 and showed that employment grew most rapidly in professional jobs and intermediate clerical, service, and sales jobs, and a very large number of trades were in decline. Prong 2 examined longitudinal data from the 1997 Negotiating the Life Course Survey with work and education histories for over 2,000 people and found that about six in seven changed occupation between their first main job on entering the labor market and their present job, and just over half changed broad skill ranking. The most important determinant of whether a person began working life in a knowledge job and stayed was education. There was little association between people's background characteristics, education, and work experience and whether they moved into knowledge work. Implications for vocational education and training (VET) were that the surest path to knowledge jobs is to obtain post-school qualifications; VET might deliver degree-level courses at the associate professional level where diplomas are often required; and over-education through VET is dangerous if educational attainment outstrips growth of jobs at the top of skill distribution.
KEY WORDS: Knowledge Workers; Australia.
David, P. A., & Foray, D. (2002). An introduction to the economy of the knowledge society. International Social Science Journal, 54(171), 9-23.
This paper reviews the central themes relating to the development of new knowledge-based economies. After placing their emergence into an historical perspective & suggesting a theoretical framework to distinguish knowledge from information, the authors try to grasp what constitutes the specific nature of such economies. They proceed to deal with some of the major issues concerning the new skills & abilities necessary for integration into the knowledge-based economy; the new geography that is developing (where physical distance would cease being such a influential constraint); the conditions controlling access to the knowledge-based economy, not least for developing countries; how the development of knowledge across different sectors of activity has been uneven; problems with intellectual property rights & the privatization of knowledge; and the topics of confidence, memory, & the fragmentation of knowledge.
KEY WORDS: Economic Change; Economic Systems; Knowledge; Technological Progress; Social Change; Knowledge Utilization; Telecommunications; Work and Learning.

Dunning, J. (Ed.). (2000). Regions, globalization, and the knowledge based economy. New York: Oxford University Press.


This book presents different disciplinary approaches to the knowledge economy and includes detailed case analysis of its impact in various parts of the world. The book moves between the supra national macro region and the micro cluster, as well as looking at associated infrastructural and policy responses.
KEY WORDS: Knowledge Management; Regional Economics; International Business; Work and Learning.

Florida, R. (2002). The rise of the creative class: And how it's transforming work, leisure, community and everyday life. New York: Basic Books.


The author looks at the growing influence of today's newest "Creative Class" which derives its identity and values from its role as purveyors of creativity and comprises nearly 40 million Americans and 25 percent of all employed people. The author also offers innovative and practical lessons for businesses and employees.
KEY WORDS: Creative Ability; Work Ethic; Knowledge Workers; Leasure; Social Classes; Technology and Civilization; Human Capital.

Frenkel, S., Korczynski, M., Donoghue, L., & Shire, K. (1995). Re-constituting work: Trends towards knowledge work and info-normative control. Work, Employment & Society, 9(4), 773-796.


This article examines the impact of three macrotrends in technological change & employment structure on the nature of work in advanced societies: (1) transformation of infrastructure to one based on information technology; (2) growth of occupations requiring reconceptualization & analysis of information; & (3) continued expansion of the service sector relative to the manufacturing sector. These trends are making the conventional classifications of work - manual vs nonmanual, white- vs blue-collar, & part- vs full-time - meaningless & are producing an emphasis in the workplace on knowledge work & people-centeredness. A three-dimensional framework for interpreting the work of several kinds of information- & people-centered workers is provided, & the impact of this trend on management control of the workplace discussed.
KEY WORDS: Technological Change; Employment Changes; Trends; Work; Information Technology; Occupational Structure; Service Industries.

Garicano, L., & Rossi-Hansberg, E. (2006). Organization and inequality in a knowledge economy. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 121(4), 1383-1435.


The authors present an equilibrium theory of the organization of work in an economy where knowledge is an essential input in production and agents are heterogeneous in skill. According to this theory, agents organize production by matching with others in knowledge hierarchies designed to use and communicate their knowledge efficiently. Relative to autarky, organization leads to larger cross-sectional differences in knowledge and wages: low skill workers learn and earn relatively less. The researchers show that improvements in the technology to acquire knowledge lead to opposite implications on wage inequality and organization than reductions in communication costs.
KEY WORDS: Organizational Studies; Inequality; Knowledge Economy; Wages; Skill.

Gray, M., Kurihara, T., Hommen, L., & Feldman, J. (2007). Networks of exclusion: Job segmentation and social networks in the knowledge economy. Equal Opportunities International [Patrington], 26(2), 144-161.


This paper aims to highlight the need to understand the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in the workplace which are often embedded in micro-level work practices. It explores how social networks and the resources contained within them function differentially among workers to reinforce existing patterns of preferential access to the most desirable positions in the labour market.
KEY WORDS: Communication Technologies; Gender; Labour Market; Social Capital; Social Networks.

Gustavsen, B. (2007). Work oganization and `the Scandinavian model'. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 28(4), 650-671.


Comparative studies of work organization indicate that learning-oriented forms are more widely applied in the Scandinavian countries than is generally the case in Europe. This is often ascribed to the cooperation between the labour market parties and the national political authorities, and the corresponding modification of market forces through welfare and employment policies. It can be argued that this interpretation is too general. An issue like work organization is not affected by the macro-political order of society alone, but also by what more specific initiatives are taken to promote organization development at the workplace level. In this article a number of bi- and tripartite efforts to promote learning-oriented forms of work organization are presented and discussed from the perspective of the question: Is there a Scandinavian model for workplace development and what are its characteristics? It is seen that while the various efforts differ widely in terms of strategy they have some elements in common, in particular the function of building trust between management and workers on the local level.
KEY WORDS: Learning Organization; Networking; Participation; Scandinavian Model; Work Organization.

Guthrie, J., & Petty, R. (2000). Intellectual capital literature review: Measurement, reporting and management. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 1(2), 155-176.


The rise of the "new economy", one principally driven by information and knowledge, is attributed to the increased prominence of intellectual capital (IC) as a business and research topic. Intellectual capital is implicated in recent economic, managerial, technological, and sociological developments in a manner previously unknown and largely unforeseen. Whether these developments are viewed through the filter of the information society, the knowledge-based economy, the network society, or innovation, there is much to support the assertion that IC is instrumental in the determination of enterprise value and national economic performance. First, the authors seek to review some of the most significant extant literature on intellectual capital and its developed path. The emphasis is on important theoretical and empirical contributions relating to the measurement and reporting of intellectual capital. The second part of this paper identifies possible future research issues into the nature, impact and value of intellectual management and reporting.
KEY WORDS: KBE; Knowledge Management; Intellectual Labour; Intellectual Capital; Intangible Assets; Knowledge Work; Knowledge Workers.

Hansen, L. (2001). The division of labour in post-industrial societies. Retrieved June 19, 2006, from https://guoa.ub.gu.se/dspace/bitstream/2077/131/1/ Hansen2001.pdf


This dissertation is a study of how work is distributed in so-called post-industrial societies. The main question it addresses is how the division of labour in complex societies is developing. That is, what occupations are increasing or decreasing their shares within the occupational structure, and how can these changes be understood? For many years it has been argued that advanced Western societies are leaving the industrial era and entering a so-called post-industrial phase. The primary feature of this alleged post-industrial development is a shift from the primacy of goods production to a dominance of service production. The studies that are presented in this thesis represent attempts to capture the essence of the division of labour in so-called post-industrial societies. Five economically advanced Western countries (Canada, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and the United States) are studied regarding such aspects as industrial and occupational employment changes, occupational sex segregation, and changes in educational attainment. Also, the conceptual framework for occupational classifications is analysed and discussed. The countries are studied with the help of official statistics, and, in particular, occupational employment data are utilised in a number of ways. Occupational data are presented on several levels of aggregation and organised according to different classifications in order to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of these countries’ division of labour.
KEY WORDS: Post-Industrial Society; Division of Labour; Occupational Classification; Occupational Structure; Welfare State; Sex Segregation; Education.

Henwood, D. (2003). After the new economy: The binge...and the hangover that won't go away. New York: The New Press.


The author dissects the New Economy, arguing that the delirious optimism was actually a manic set of variations on ancient themes, all promoted from the highest of places. Claims of New Eras have plenty of historical precedents; in this latest act, our modern mythmakers maintained that technology would overturn hierarchies, democratizing information and finance and leading inexorably to a virtual social revolution. But, as the author vividly demonstrates, the gap between rich and poor has never been so wide, wealth never so concentrated.
KEY WORDS: New Economy; Classical Economics; Weightless Society; Knowledge Economy; Knowledge Workers; Neoliberalism.

Huws, U. (2006). What will we do? The destruction of occupational identities in the 'knowledge-based economy'. Monthly Review (New York), 57(8), 19-34.


Occupational identity thus presents something of a conundrum because it forms a basic organizational building block as well as a barrier to the development of broader class consciousness. Traditionally most organizations of workers have grown up around specific occupational identities in groupings which are simultaneously inclusive, in the sense that they generate strong internal solidarities, and exclusive, in the sense that they rely for their effectiveness on strong boundaries and restrictions on entry to the group. Here, Huws discusses how to break down occupational identities under the impact of automation and the introduction of the factory system.
KEY WORDS: Identity; Occupation; Knowledge-based Economy; Labour; Social Closure.

Jarvis, P. (2006). Beyond the learning society: Globalisation and the moral imperative for reflective social change. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 25(3), 201-211.


This paper argues that the learning society, as presented by the dominant discourse, has emphasised scientific rationality and work-life learning to the exclusion of both a comprehensive understanding of lifelong learning and also the breadth of human experience and knowledge. The authors argue this happens because global capitalism has emphasised scientific and technical knowledge and the competitive market; its other driving force has been information technology, which has, paradoxically, made people much more aware of the extremes of global capitalism and evoked a moral sentiment that will lead to social change. The moral argument proposed in this paper is pragmatic but it also reflects but does not rely on Pitirim Sorokin's theory of social change, in which humans move from a sensate to an ideational society, and with the change the discourse on the learning society will necessarily change.
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