Drucker (1974) may have been the first to describe knowledge workers and knowledge work. Savage (1990) observed that the nature of an organisation based on knowledge rather than industrial society notions of land, labor, or capital was not well understood. Mcgee and Prusak (1993) noted that core competencies are not what an organisation owns, but rather what it knows.
Knowledge organisations have a network dimension. Davis (1977) states that networks would not replace hierarchies, but that the two would coexist within a broader organisational concept. Similarly, Amidon (1997) points out those traditional industrial-era hierarchies are neither flexible nor fluid enough to mobilize an organisation’s intellectual capacity and that much less constrained networked organisational forms are needed for modern decision making. Tapscott (1998) notes that there is an underlying logic and order to the emerging digital organisational form. It is networked, involves multiple enterprises, is based on core competencies, and knowledge is actively created, exchanged, and used.
There is also a behavioral approach. Bartlett (1999) indicates that organisational structure is just a skeleton. Knowledge organisations also have a physiology in the form of the flow of information and knowledge, as life-blood. They also have a psychology represented by people’s values and how they act as individuals and collectively.
Knowledge is created and used by people. Strassman (1985) described the transformation of work in the electronic age from the standpoint of education and training for managers and employees, human aspects of the working environment, and issues of morale, motivation, privacy, and displacements. Bartlett (1999) indicates that empowerment is not possible in an autocratic organisation, which networks cannot be sustained in fixed hierarchical structure, and that learning is not possible in an environment constrained by rigid policies and procedures. Davenport (1997) used an information ecology approach, in which he explored the use and abuse of information in the context of infighting, resource hoarding, and political battles as well as appropriate management in such a context.
Simard (2000) states that knowledge is inextricably linked to organisational mandates. Some providers strive for objectivity; others selectively disseminate information and knowledge, while still others use information to further their agenda. Users must understand that information is not innocent, and that all information is not created equal.
Knowledge organisations also have collective intelligence. Liautaut (2001) points out that in the knowledge economy, being an intelligent business is not only a prerequisite to winning, but even to compete in the first place. In a fluid, fast-paced knowledge market, companies that can find and exploit the slightest advantage for faster, better decision making will dominate. He also indicates that the greater the exchange of data and information across an organisation, the more intelligent it will be.