Knowlegdge Worker Productivity and Engagement: Drucker and Pink

In his book, Management Challenges for the 21st Century, management guru Peter Drucker talked about what it takes for knowledge workers to be productive. He said there were six major factors. These included:

  1. Asking the question “what is the task?”
  2. Knowledge workers must manage themselves and take responsibility for their productivity.
  3. Continuing innovation has to be part of the work.
  4. Knowlegde work requires that knowledge workers engage in continuous learning AND continuous TEACHING.
  5. Quality of output is what is important, certainly equal to quantity.
  6. Knowledge worker productivity requires that the knowledge worker be treated as an “asset” and not a “cost.”

To Drucker it was important “that the knowledge worker want to work for the organization in preference to all other opportunities.”
This is similar to the message that Daniel Pink delivers in Drive when he discusses intrinsic motivation and “heuristic” work. I see a connection between Pink’s description of work and Drucker’s description. Both have a similar message with type of work and what type of worker is necessary. Pink talks about intrinsic motivation and Drucker’s last statement implies intrinsic motivation.
So the question becomes is the key to employee engagement insuring that as much work as possible is “heuristic” and thus interesting and challenging so that intrinsic motivation becomes the driving force?
I know this is different than my usual compliance topic, so I would like you to weigh in on my thoughts? Does this formula work?

engagement = heuristic work + intrinsic motivation

4 thoughts on “Knowlegdge Worker Productivity and Engagement: Drucker and Pink”

  1. well that is a big topic. I think we as employees bring to the table our intrinsic motivations, i.e. what motivates us to do our best at work. When we get to work the extrinsic “stuff” can be an enabler or a de-motivator in my opinion. In other other words, is the work challenging, is my boss a jerk, do I have the tools and equipment to do my job, etc. I think BOTH have to be in sync for optimal performance to occur. Just my 2cents!

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