Your browser has javascript turned off or blocked. This will lead to some parts of our website to not work properly or at all. Turn on javascript for best performance.

The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/windows/end-of-ie-support).

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Alvehus

Johan Alvehus

Senior lecturer

Alvehus

Paragrafer och Profit. Om kunskapsarbetets oklarhet

Author

  • Johan Alvehus

Summary, in English

Knowledge work is often portrayed as hidden or ambiguous: an ambiguous product is sold, ambiguous results are delivered, and work processes are ambiguous. This in turn affects the type of management expected in knowledge-intensive organisations, where emphasis is on managing people rather than work. In this study, the organisation of knowledge work is discussed and problematized through analysis of the knowledge work itself, an approach rarely pursued in studies of knowledge-intensive firms.



The empirical basis of the dissertation is a study of tax consultancy at a major auditing firm. Differing images of tax consultancy work emerge depending on which point of view is emphasised, i.e. whether the work is seen through the eyes of junior or senior consultants. From the perspective of junior consultants, problem solving is emphasised while the senior's view is one of problem construction. This distinction is, among other things, based on the exclusion of juniors from client relations and the problem construction taking place within these relations, while problem solving work is often delegated to juniors. While this leads to differing views on work, there is another aspect connecting the views: chargeable time. Accounting for time spent on specific problems is a way of evaluating the work done, thereby producing an image of what is to be considered as relevant work.



From the empirical observations of problem solving, problem construction, and accounting for time, the organization of knowledge work is discussed in more general terms. Knowledge work is here described as characterized by a "radial" division of labour between junior and senior workers, which simultaneously produces profitability and an image of individual progression. Through studying the organizing of knowledge work the very idea of knowledge work being ambiguous can be discussed. Instead of understanding ambiguity as something inherent in knowledge-intensive work, this study shows how ambiguity and clarity can be understood as something which actors can allocate and manage, for example within relations to clients and within relations to other personnel.

Department/s

  • Department of Business Administration

Publishing year

2006

Language

Swedish

Document type

Dissertation

Publisher

Lund Business Press

Topic

  • Business Administration

Keywords

  • Organisationsteori
  • Organizational science
  • Samhällsvetenskaper
  • Social sciences
  • Tax consultancy
  • Professional service firms
  • Knowledge intensive firms
  • Division of labour
  • Knowledge work
  • Ambiguity
  • Management of enterprises
  • Företagsledning
  • management

Status

Published

Supervisor

  • Mats Alvesson

ISBN/ISSN/Other

  • ISBN: 91-85113-09-3

Defence date

24 March 2006

Defence time

13:00

Defence place

Crafoordsalen Holger Crafoords Ekonomicentrum Tycho Brahes väg 1 Lund

Opponent

  • Sten Jönsson (Professor)