Advances in information technology and other hightechnology sectors have increased the number of people involved in the activities of knowledge creation and diffusion. These people, known as knowledge workers, form a special class that includes professionals, consultants, technicians, scientists, intellectuals and managers (Bell 1976; Wuthnow and Shrum 1983; Quinn 1992; Ruhleder 1994). Even though the definitions of knowledge work are varied and inconclusive, knowledge work has the following characteristics: • it produces and reproduces information and knowledge (Machlup 1962; Stehr 1994); • unlike physical blue-collar work, knowledge work is cerebral (Davis, Collins et al. 1991; Davis and Nauman 1997), and involves the manipulation of abstractions and symbols that both represent the world and are objects in the world (Fuller 1992); • unlike service work, which is frequently scripted (Leidner 1993), knowledge work defies routinization and requires the use of creativity in order to produce idiosyncratic, esoteric knowledge (Drucker 1993; Ledford 1995; Sviokla 1996); and • it requires a formal education, i.e., abstract, technical and theoretical knowledge (Starbuck 1992; Frenkel, Korczynski et al. 1995).
Kim, Jeffrey and Schultze, Ulrike, "Mini-Track: Understanding Knowledge Work" (2000). AMCIS 2000 Proceedings. 307.