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Organizing knowledge intensive work

the role of managerial leadership

In contemporary society, knowledge intensive work is becoming increasingly important. The Knowledge Society, however, as well as the notion of a new working life, pose a great challenge to existing “working practices” and hence the role of managerial leadership. Calls for continuous improvement, for instance, have been extended into a strong plead for everyday creativity and innovation. At the same time, new aspects of work, such as poorly defined work content and “tacit expert knowledge”, are reshaping work places into collaborative systems of networking. With projects as the primary mode of everyday work, highly unpredictable flows of action are being synchronized into concerted action. However, most often this comes with a twist, or an unexpected turn of events. On top of that, value-creating processes seem to have a high degree of complexity, thus drawing on resources scattered in different units and departments within the organizations as well as outside the organization.

This project aims at developing empirically founded knowledge about the role of managerial leadership in the organizing of knowledge intensive work. The emphasis on knowledge intensive work reflects an ambition to capture those “working practices” that stems from highly interrelated, as well as inter-organizational, tasks and work-flows. More specifically, the project aims at identifying and developing conceptual tools and models regarding the role of leadership in situations perceived as highly ambiguous, i.e. where the responsibility and accountability of specific actors remain unclear and open for continuous negotiation. The project will also try to capture how the interaction between internal and external actors, institutions, and intermediaries are formed and developed over time regarding, for instance, medical treatment.

The methodology is based on a critical incident approach and case-studies.

Collaborative partners: Apoteket AB, IFL (Institutet för Företagsledning), Pfizer AB (Sweden), and Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting.

Project leader:
Ingalill Holmberg

Research team:
Ingalill Holmberg, Mats Tyrstrup

Status:
Started 2008, financed by Vinnova till December 2012

Publications

Holmberg, Ingalill, 2008, På tröskeln till ett nytt arbetsliv, LOOP, Nr 5 Vol. 4 p 53-56


In the Press

Vinnova satsar 40 miljoner på nya chefsideal, Ny Teknik, 2008-04-28

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