A knowledge worker in today's workforce is an individual that is valued for their ability to interpret information within a specific subject area. They will often advance the overall understanding of that subject through focused analysis, design and/or development. They use research skills to define problems and to identify alternatives. Fueled by their expertise and insight, they work to solve those problems, in an effort to influence company decisions, priorities and strategies.
Knowledge workers may be found across a variety of information technology roles, but also among professionals like teachers, lawyers, architects, engineers andothers. As businesses increase their dependence on information technology, the number of fields in which knowledge workers must operate has expanded dramatically.
- analyzing data to establish relationships
- assessing input in order to evaluate complex or conflicting priorities
- identifying and understanding trends
- making connections
- understanding cause and effect
- ability to brainstorm, thinking broadly
- ability to drill down, creating more focus
- producing a new capability
- creating or modifying a strategy
Generally, if the knowledge can be retained, knowledge worker contributions will serve to expand the knowledge assets of a company. While it can be difficult to measure, this increases the overall value of its intellectual capital. In cases where the knowledge assets have commercial or monetary value, companies may create patents around their assets, at which point the material becomes restricted intellectual property. In these knowledge-intensive situations, knowledge workers play a direct, vital role in increasing the financial value of a company.