Some Differences between Knowledge-based and Traditional Workplaces

By Michael J. Withey.

Published by The Organization Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Each of 36 companies was classified as knowledge-based or traditional based on the average of employee self-report scores. Differences between the two types of workplace were examined. The results of the study indicate that workers in knowledge-based firms have higher levels of affective commitment, job satisfaction and shared values with the company than do workers in traditional workplaces. No significant differences were found for continuance commitment, job involvement or turnover intentions. That traditional workplaces have lower affective commitment but do not differ in continuance commitment or turnover intentions raises questions about differential levels of motivation in the two types of workplace. The two types of workplace also differ in workplace characteristics. Knowledge-based workplaces make more effective use of the rewards of merit pay, promotions and opportunity for training than do traditional workplaces. Realistic expectations, satisfaction with training, growth opportunities and formal involvement are also higher in knowledge-based workplaces, while no significant differences were found for the importance of either training or trust. The study concludes that in knowledge-based workplaces, more emphasis is placed on factors that converge on autonomy, performance and shared values.

Keywords: Knowledge Work, Knowledge Workplace, Organizational Commitment, Job Satisfaction

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp.213-226. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.198MB).

Dr. Michael J. Withey

Professor, Faculty of Business, Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

Dr. Michael Withey is a Professor with the Faculty of Business Administration at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He completed most of his university education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, earning an MBA. (1981) and a PhD in Management (1986). Dr. Withey has taught courses in Organizational Behaviour and Development, Organization Theory, Management Skills and Change Management at the undergraduate and MBA levels. His research interests are in the general areas of employee attitudes and their effects on workplace behaviour and the knowledge-based economy.


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