What is the value of knowledge workers in an information-intensive companies?

이번 학기에 Morten Hansen이라는 교수님의 Managing Information-Intensive Companies 라는 수업을 듣는다. 혹시 몇 년 전에 잠깐 유행했던 “T-자형 인재”라는 말을 기억하는 사람이 있는지 모르겠다. 이 분이 그 개념을 처음 만든 분이었다. HBS (하버드 경영대)와 INSEAD(프랑스에 있는 경영대)에서 교수를 하시다가 이번에 버클리 iSchool로 오셨다. 지금까지 수업을 듣기로는 상당히 흥미로웠음.

수업 블로그를 운영하면서 학기 중에 글을 쓰도록 장려하고 있는데, 나야 당연히 수업 중에 말을 잘 못하니 글이라도 열심히 해서 수업에 참여하려고 생각 중이다. 아래 글이 그래서 처음으로 쓴 글.

원문 링크: http://blogs.ischool.berkeley.edu/miic/2009/02/03/what-is-the-value-of-knowledge-workers-in-an-information-intensive-companies/

The Beginning

I recently heard that one of the major global management consulting firms Seoul office laid off a 4-month-old (which could be shorter employment than an intern) consultant. Combined with the emphasis that Professor Morten made in the first class, which is that quantitatively evaluating intangible assets of information-intensive companies (IICs) such as McKinsey & Co. is hardly possible, the news ignited my curiosity about what the value of knowledge workers (k-workers) in an IIC is.

Defining Realm of the Issue

Before diving into the issue further, I tried to make a clear distinction between IICs and others like the following table.

Supporting Data

Since many IICs keep data such as revenue, the number of k-workers in each classes as officially secret, I tried to find some proxy data. I finally decided to use the number of publication of retired professors whose list of publications is publicly well known. (I used Albert Einstein’s publication list.) This proxy will be used for modeling “value” of k-workers in an IIC.

To evaluate cost of k-workers, I searched how average salary of a professor is changed as one’s career passes. The salary data of 1,218 universities were retrieved from the Chronicle article.


Through simply collected data, I hypothesized a conceptual model for the value and cost of k-workers in an IIC.

Quick and Dirty Conclusion

  • IIC’s perspective
    After hiring someone as an entry level k-worker, a company should examine him/her to judge whether he/she is learning fast or not. If the employee had a potential and grew and proved himself/herself by one’s performance, promote him/her to senior level. Otherwise, cut off and fill up the position with new challenger. Once an employee becomes a senior worker, try to make them stay there as long as possible utilizing non-monetary incentives.
  • K-worker’s perspective
    Since an IIC might try to educate entry level workers intensively, shift your career after working for an IIC for first few years. Once you decided to stay in the organization as a senior worker, try to become a partner or a tenured member as soon as possible.


This post was written just for a few hours based on pure personal curiosity and the purpose was, in part, just for fun. I hope that it is relevant, at least slightly, to the course and will not harm the academic atmosphere of this blog. If so, I would unpublish or delete the article. Please let me know.

2 thoughts on “What is the value of knowledge workers in an information-intensive companies?”

  1. Watching Boston Legal might shed some extra insight into your endeavor. 🙂 A lot of mentioning about a value of a senior partner in a legal firm. Although it’s just a TV show, it still has some grains of truth in it.

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