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Building Knowledge Worker Character

DJ Garza 
As one company executive recently put it, We have technology coming out of our ears, but not enough people who know how to use it

The truth is that in today's business environment companies are desperately looking for competent knowledge workers. A knowledge worker is one who uses information and communication technology to create, acquire, process, synthesize, disseminate, analyze, and use information to be more productive. 

Because every activity in an organization generates data a knowledge worker organizes it in a way that is useful which is referred to as information. It is very likely that everyone will encounter or in one form or another be a knowledge worker at some point in their career. Because the business climate is now a global one, the ability to communicate across the world to and with a business's global partners is facilitated by the skills of a knowledge worker and every successful organization has them. The shift to and importance of globalization and constantly advancing technology is another reason why a knowledge worker is a valuable asset to any company.

How will you know what skills you will need? What is expected of a knowledge worker? These questions can be answered in a few characteristics.

1) Strategic Thinking

The ability to see the big picture and understand how your organization works as a whole. They are employed in all parts of an organization, not just in Information Technology (IT) departments and have a broad view of the overall business. They are self-motivated and creative because they find answers.

2) Information Literacy 

The ability to determine what information is needed, where to find it, and how to use it. They can sort and point out relevant information. A good knowledge worker has the skills to utilize given information but also is able to conduct research and develop problem solving strategies. To be effective you must understand how, where, and why the underlying data are generated.

3) Communication and Collaboration 

The ability to function as an effective part of a project team where you understand your role as well as the roles of others. Knowledge workers play a key role in bridging communication between all levels of an organization.

Knowledge work is typically non-routine; it is adaptive work that will be useful in various aspects of a business. It is never a boring job because the skills are utilized in various steps in the business process. Knowledge workers also interact with different people within the organization from managers to customers who rely on their skills, directly or indirectly, because their specific jobs involve the flow of information.

Today college students are in the best position to gain a valuable understanding of what business executives are looking for in their employees. With exposure to accounting systems and theory among other business courses they will expose themselves to different types of IT and its components. On the way they will build their capacity for strategic thinking, enhance their information literacy, and practicing communication and collaboration to become competent knowledge workers. 





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