A little knowledge is a dangerous thing: getting below the surface of the growth of 'knowledge work' in Australia
AuthorFleming, P; Harley, B; Sewell, G
Source TitleWork, Employment and Society
PublisherSAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD
AffiliationManagement and Marketing
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsFleming, P., Harley, B. & Sewell, G. (2004). A little knowledge is a dangerous thing: getting below the surface of the growth of 'knowledge work' in Australia. WORK EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIETY, 18 (4), pp.725-747. https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017004047951.
Access StatusThis item is currently not available from this repository
C1 - Refereed Journal Article
This article critically addresses the claim that there has been a striking growth in ‘knowledge work’ in advanced economies. Using the Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force Survey, we examine occupational change from 1986 to 2000 to evaluate the support for this claim. Researchers have usually relied on aggregate level data to justify the presence of a burgeoning knowledge-based workforce, but we contend that we must ‘get below the surface’ of the major occupational groups by disaggregating the data. This enables us to demonstrate that a substantial component of the apparent growth in knowledge work is accounted for by an increase in low-level information handling occupations rather than by a growth in knowledge work as it is commonly conceived. The article then develops an interpretive framework that makes sense of the data in a manner that avoids both over-estimating the prevalence of the ‘knowledge worker’ and underestimating the knowledge-related activities in jobs commonly considered to be low-skilled and bereft of important competencies.
KeywordsBusiness and Management
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