Work and Working
In my knowledge management class last night, we covered the issue of knowledge work from many different angles, including whether it exists at all. One of the topics that came up in our readings was a differentiation between work and working (and workers).
Work is the output of some activity: the end result that I can then give to someone else. Working is everything that goes on to create that output: mental and physical activity. It's a useful distinction in the discussion of knowledge work because we so frequently focus on the work product or the result of working, rather than the skill and knowledge that make the result possible. And in thinking about making knowledge work more productive, it is the working that we need to improve, not necessarily the end products.
Then along comes Lilia Efimova's post about her weblog research, where she distinguishes between artefacts and practices. She's got some fun drawings of where she is going, and it highlights the nature of this work vs. working problem. The end results (artifacts) show only a small portion of what happens in creating that artifact. In thinking about this, I wonder if a deeper structure might be in play -- a deeper connection to context in which bloggers (or knowledge workers) operate. Something like this drawing, where the visible is at the top of the pyramid and stuff below the waterline is the blogging culture and even deeper is the larger culture and context of the people doing blogging. (Please draw something better - or point us to a better-looking drawing. I need to spend more time, if I were to draw something pretty.)
Previous entry: Manage Knowledgement
Next entry: Inner Life of a Leader