The third wave of human socio-economic development is described by Charles Savage in “Fifth Generation Management.” The first wave was the Agricultural Age with wealth defined as ownership of land. In the second wave, the Industrial Age, wealth was based on ownership of Capital, i.e. factories. In the Knowledge Age, wealth is based upon the ownership of knowledge and the ability to use that knowledge to create or improve goods and services. Product improvements include cost, durability, suitability, timeliness of delivery, and security.
Information Literate Knowledge Worker
Information Literate Knowledge Workers are able to conduct a number of activities that are unclear in their benefit to an outsider, but are extremely valuable to the overall success of a business. They have the ability to use the best sources to gain the information they need, which are both accurate and current. Next, with the data on hand they excel at extracting the key information, comprehending it, and then manipulating it to provide the organization the greatest benefit possible.
An example of an Information Literate Knowledge Worker is an analyst given the task of developing a database of companies that fit the target customer profile of the business. The analyst must perform data mining for information by using sources such as websites, print and professional associations. The best sources must be used, and only the pertinent information taken, so that maximum efficiency is achieved. In order to produce an acceptable final product, the analyst must be able to define the information that is accurate and current, against that which is not, so that the database provides the greatest advantage to the organization. Finally, the analyst must be able to explain the information that has been compiled so that the end-users of the database can employ it effectively.
Technology Literate Knowledge Worker
A Technology Literate Knowledge Worker is educated when it comes to the correct applications of technology. The individual understands what type of technology best suits the company by knowing the technology available and weighing the benefits of each option before making the final decision. The worker is also aware that there must be adequate technological infrastructure in order for the product to work effectively. The worker’s most important ability is the knowledge of when to apply technology. If the Technology Literate Knowledge Worker applies technology at the correct time it can make, or save the organization a significant amount, while using technology when it isn’t needed can be costly.
An example of a Technology Literate Worker is a database administrator who is responsible for ensuring that the databases are functioning properly, while attempting to maximize the databases value to the organization. The database administrator must incorporate a database management system that is compatible with the company’s existing systems and goals. Their primary objective is to maintain a system that is effective and efficient, while keeping it easy to operate. They are also given the task of remaining current with the new technologies available, so that any opportunity to improve the company’s technology can be capitalized on immediately.