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Abstract

In this article, we propose an analytical framework for investigating how control of knowledge and knowledge workers is achieved in a translation agency. The organizational size and an organizational logic of self-management were found to drive control mechanisms into a minimalist style of joint management. On the one hand, the translators managed themselves through (a) the buy-in of an open and sharing culture and a new psychological contract, (b) information from the appraisal results, and (c) conversation and communication with other experts. On the other hand, the managers manage by employing (a) a strategy centered on the dictionary and directory elements of an open and sharing culture, (b) minimalist interventions to induce and structure spontaneous communication, and (c) freelancers to complement expertise within organizational boundaries. Our analysis establishes a prototype for managing individualistic knowledge work in small organizations. Implications of these findings include a configurational approach to KM research, a shift from the concern of rent appropriation to that of rent sharing, and viewing organizations as the context covered with communication channels that craft, groom and enable communication, conversation and mutual learning.

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