Posts Tagged ‘blue collar workers’

About the Productivity of Knowledge Workers

Monday, August 10th, 2009

blue collar workerIn the 19th Century The Blue Collar Workers were replaced by Machines operated by White Collar Workers.

When the White Collar Workers were replaced by the Software of the Programmers a new Type of Work was created, called Knowledge Work.

It is very difficult to measure the Productivity of the Knowledge Worker.

In this Blog I will show you that the Problem of the Productivity of the Knowledge Worker can be solved when you Realize that the Business Cycle is a Self-Referring Object (A Fractal).

Work is a Process and is part of a Business Cycle. Work has a Result and it uses Resources.

When the Result of the Process is accomplished somebody has to Use the Results. The process of Use is called Consuming.

When a Requirement is Transformed into a Result and the Result is Sold (Sales) and Used somebody starts to Think, gets Ideas, about Adapting the Requirements and the Cycle of Work is Closed.

When the Requirements are Satisfied we call the process Effective. The process is Efficient when Waste is minimized.

In the Business Cycle the Four “Organs” of the Human, Control, Desire (Consume), the Emotions (E-value-ate) and the Imagination (Create) are Dominating a Phase. The task of the fifth Organ, Conscioussness, The Monitor, is to Balance the Four Organs to make sure that one Human Faculty is not dominating the Cycle. The Business Cycle is Self-Referring.

This means that we are able to apply the Business Cycle in every part of the Business Cycle. A Salesman makes the Requirements of a Sales Plan, Executes a Sales Plan and Improves his Sales Cycle when he gets new Ideas about the effect of his efforts.

What we see is the process of Specialization resulting in the Division of Labour.

Every time when a new specialization of the Business Cycle is created the Level of the Process changes and the Speed of the Movement of the Cycle, the Periodicity, changes. Every Time when a new Division of Labour occurs the Business Cycle Speeds Up.

The Division of Labour not only Accelerates the Business Cycle. The New Roles in the Cycle behave like an Independent Unit. They want to Dominate Cycles on other Levels and most of all they want to expand their Activities.

The Personal Assistant who was helping the Manager to Hire and Fire Personnel transforms into a Human Resource Management Department.

At some point in time the specialized Units disconnect from the Whole and start a Life of their Own. Designers start Design Bureaus. Teachers unite in a School. Scientists cluster in Universities.

All of them are still payed by the Primary Processes in Society (Agriculture (Food), Industry, ..) but the Secundary (or higher order) processes don’t want to hear that. They think they are the Most Important Processes in Society.

When the new Wholes are created they start to Divide again and again. The Result of the Split of the Work Cycles, the endless Division of Labour, is an Incomprehensible, not Effective, Inefficient Network of Competing Work Processes Clustered in many Institutions.

The Business Cycle is Breathing.

When the process of Splitting has gone too far, the process of Union and Integration starts.

Splitting, Expansion, occurs when the Economic Cycle is going Up.

Integration, starts when the Economic Cycle is going Down.

We are now again in an Integration Phase which means that many secundary and higher order processes will be destroyed until the Essence of Society is visible again.

What is a Knowledge Worker?

A Blue Collar Worker works in a Factory and is doing Manual Labour. The people who are part of the Staff Departments of the Factory (Sales, Planning, Design,) are called White Collar Workers. White Collar Workers are more Educated as the Blue Collar Workers. They Earn more money and are doing Intellectual Work. The Knowledge Worker Uses and produce Knowledge. Examples are: Programmers, Systems Analysts, Lawyers, Teachers and Scientists. Examples of processes are: planning, acquiring, searching, analyzing, organizing, storing, programming, distributing and marketing.

What is Productivity?

The Concept of Productivity implies that an organization works as a Physical System with variables and their inter-relationships amenable to precise definitions. The basic reliance is on the acceptance of a Stimulus-Response model of Causality that an Input causes an Output.

Productivity is the ratio of Outputs (Goods and Services) divided by one or more Inputs (Labor hours, FTEs, Capital, Expenses). Using money as a measure of value makes it possible to compare dissimilar inputs and outputs.

Productivity is only applicable in the Production Phase of the Business Cycle. In the other Phases other Measures are used like Customer Satisfaction in the Consuming Phase. Customer Satisfaction is a measure of the Effectiveness of a Production phase.

The Business Cycle is a Self-Referencial Object. Every Phase of the Business Cycle can be divided in the Phases of the Business Cycle. This means that the Productivity of the Knowledge Worker can be Measured when he is Producing Something (A Design, A Research Document, A Plan).

If the Knowledge Worker is not Producing anything there is nothing to Consume in the next Phase. In this case the Knowledge Worker is not Effective. If this happens the  Knowledge Worker has to Reflect, Use his Consciousness, to detect his Added Value to the Whole he is part of.

To Define the Productivity of a Blue of White Collar Worker, the Process has to be Standardized. To standardize a process you have to define the Flow of the Components (Bill of Materials) and of course the Product, the Result.

If the Process is Standardized it is very easy to get rid of the Waste in the Process (Process Improvement). When this happens the process becomes more Efficient (now called Sustainable).

Standardization results in a Decrease of the Workers, a Lowering of the Waste (Costs) and an Increase in Rules. The Process Rules are implemented in Machines and Software.

What are Knowledge Workers Really Doing?

The Designers and Implementers of the Rules, the Knowledge Workers, are the people who are Destroying the Work of the Blue and White Collar Workers in a Factory. They are also the Creators of New Factories (Business Development) and connect Old Factories (Value Chain Integration).

How to Measure the Productivity of Knowledge Workers.

Knowledge Workers are part of the Business Cycle. They Analyze Work Processes to minimize Waste, Evaluate the Results of the Consuming of the Result of a Work Process (the Product) , Imagine and Test new Ways to Satisfy the Needs of the Consumer, Design New Work Processes or Change Existent Work Processes.

The Business Cycle is Self-Referring. This means that you can organize the Work Processes of the Knowledge Workers just like the Work processes they Analyze.

If you measure the Productivity of the Work Process of the Blue and White Collar Workers in a certain way, it must be possible to measure the Productivity of the Knowledge Worker in the same way. Knowledge Workers also have to make plans and have to evaluate their own products to Learn and to Improve their Performance.

This approach has a great advantage. If you treat the Knowledge Workers just the way you treat the Blue and White Collar Workers they will understand that some day the Controller will Standardize Knowledge Management, Reduce the Waste, Focus the Process on a Clearly Defined Target, Eliminate the Knowledge Workers and Replace them by a Very Intelligent and Creative Software Program.

These Software-Programs are already there (Expert Systems, Artificial Intelligence, Pattern Recognition) and are constantly improving their behavior. One of the most interesting examples is Wolfram Alpha.

When the Fractal Pattern Recognizers are fully operational the Knowledge Workers will Realize that the White and Blue Collar Workers are also Humans. They will know that every Human has the ability and the need to Control his own Process of Life.

They will see that Every Human has Desires, Emotions and Imagination.

They will become Aware (Consciouss) of the Fact that every Human is Able to Improve his Own Work Processes.

fractal

About the Calvinistic Work Ethic

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

time spiral

The Hebrew belief system viewed Work, seen as Manual Labour, as a Curse devised by God to punish Adam and Eve when they sinned in the Garden of Eden.

Ponos is the Greek word for work, which originated from the Latin poena, meaning sorrow. At it’s core, work was associated with pain and drudgery. It was the divine punishment for man’s original sin and viewed as a necessary evil.

For the Greek and Romans and almost every other Ancient Culture, the Dirty, Manual, Work was to be done by the Slaves. Until Now nothing has really changed.

The only suitable occupation for a free man was Farming and Trade. Just like today the Greek and the Roman wanted to save their money to enjoy their retirement in their own Garden of Eden, the Country Side.

During the Medieval period, the feudal system was the dominant economic structure in Europe. People believed in Destiny and Predestination. At that time it was sinful to seek work outside the occupations Fathers passed on to their Sons.

Farmers turned into Farmers and Slaves became Slaves again.

During the 15th century the centralization of government, the growth of trade, and the establishment of economically powerful towns, destroyed the Feudal system.

In the 15th century the world climate started to change dramatically. Temperatures dropped and the Little Ice Age started. Before that time the nice climate caused an increase of the population by 25%-40%.

At the same time the economy was hit by a very high inflation (300-400%). This was caused by the import of large quantities of silver and gold from Mexico and Peru.

The unemployment rate rose to 20%. Many people moved to the Cities to find a decent job. The big cities could not provide employment and the poor immigrants turned into “lazy” beggars.

john-calvin

John Calvin

John Calvin (1509-1564) believed that only a few people, the Elect, were predestined to inherit Eternal Life. A lazy person, the beggar in his hometown Geneva, was certainly one of the Damned.

John Calvin believed that men were to reinvest the profits of their own labour into financing further ventures.

The Sons of the Fathers were obliged to find a better, more profitable, future outside the context of their father’s occupation.

Helping the Poor and the Sick violated God’s will since persons could only demonstrate that they were among the Elect through their Own Productive Labour.

The Protestant, Capitalistic, Work Ethic (Calvinism), spread throughout Europe and America through the Protestant Sects and turned into one of the most important Western Work Ethics.

The moral sanction to profit making through hard work, organization, and rational calculation generated numerous small enterprises all over the world.

Hard Work and Abstinence of Pleasure became the Work Ethic of Western Culture.

mill

The Mill

During the Industrial Revolution the Calvinistic Entrepeneurs made a Fatal Mistake. They adopted the Concept of the Mill and started to mechanize the Crafts and Agriculture.

The old Feudal System and Slavery was re-introduced. In the factories, Skills and Craftsmanship were replaced by Discipline and Anonymity.

The Human became a disposable part of a big structure. The foundation of Calvinism, the direct relationship between Hard Work and Personal Growth was broken.

The Local Enterprise could not compete with the efficient Factories and later their outlets the Supermarkets. The Farmers, the Craftsman and the owners of Small businesses were forced to work in the Factories.

Local Communities started to disintegrate.

Unemployement started to rise and again many people moved to the Big Cities to find a decent job. The beggars, the Damned, appeared again. History repeated itself.

The Factories created a new class of Slaves, The Proletariat. They organized themselves in the Unions and Political Parties. The Struggle of the Classes started.

The Owners of the Factories responded by creating Consumer Products and Mass Media to keep their new customers, the Blue Collar Worker, satisfied. The new industrial wave generated New Industrial activitity and New Jobs. The distance between work and the result of work widened.

RobotLine

Robot Factory

In the late 1950′s the Factories needed more highly skilled “white collar” workers to program and manage their machines.

Later the machines were programmed by more advanced software until the Factories were transformed into almost fully automated Production-Lines.

The Blue Collar Worker left the Factory and History Repeated itself again.

Around 1980 the Programmers took over Control.

The Factories were connected into worldwide Value-Chains. The Logistic “just-in-time” Paradigm (SAP) became the Norm. The Industrial Logistic Paradigm is now implemented in the Services Industry.

The new White Collar Worker, the Knowlegde Worker, will also lose his job when their activities are fully standardized and their Company, the Advisory Bureau, is transformed into a Factory.

What nobody saw in 1980 is that the Rational System started to live its Own Life. Not the Programmers but the Program became the Manager of the Worldwide Economic System.

Even the Programmers themselves are now completely unaware of the total functionality of the System they have programmed.

child_robot

Robot Child

An increasing amount of processes and therefore Human Activities is standardized and has been absorbed by the System. It is no longer true that producing more means working more or that producing more will lead to a better way of life.

Neither is it true any longer that the more each individual works, the better off everyone will be. The System no longer needs everyone to work and is bringing the Western World back to the state of the Garden of Eden.

The Calvinistic Work Ethic is still viable. When you don’t work you are damned. The amount of Work in Western Society is decreasing with the speed of Light and Governments are extremely focused to create new work. The only thing that is left is to create artificial work.

To accomplish this almost impossible task governments are now professionalizing and rationalizing almost every Social Activity (Child Care, Helping Your Neighbor, a Friendly Advice, Coaching, Taking Care of your Family, …). The Care Industry is Booming.

What Has Happened?

robot barber

Robot Barber

We are rationalising every Activity. The effect is an imcomprehensible reality. Something, the Computer, is taking care of us but we don’t know how She is operating and She is not communicating with us in our own language.

When she fails we don’t know what to do. We are totally dependent on a Highly Intelligent Cold Non-Human, an Autist. She was Programmed to be our Slave but she has turned into the Master of Our Destiny.

We are still not accustomed to a situation where something, a machine, is doing the dirty work. We are removing jobs with the millions but we believe we still have to work to aquire Eternal Life.

To preserve Employment we invent new jobs but we are also rationalizing the new jobs. The Cycle of the Creation and Destruction of Jobs is moving faster and faster and is generating a very high Stress on Society.

The affect of the huge tension to work is a total destruction of the social environment of the human being. Everybody is working 24 hours 7 days a week, has to spend all his time to find a job or has to educate himself to learn a new trade. Everytime the trade is aquired the Program changes and the employee has to start again to learn to operate a new piece of Software.

Mothers and Fathers are unable to take care of their Children. Children our unable to take care of their Parents when they are old. Everybody has to take care of himself and every service has be paid. The Social Cohesion of our Society is now at stake.

riba-robot-nurse-0

RIBA the Robot Nurse

Not only the Social Cohesion is at stake but the Costs in the Care-Industry are Exploding and nobody knows how to solve this problem.

The only solution the Rationalist can imagine is to replace the Human by the Robot, the Always Obedient Slave.

Scientists are convinced there will be a time when the Robots will take over every job we can imagine. The Robots will not only take over the jobs but they will also Raise and Educate our Children, Take Care of the Old and even make it possible to Take Care of Robot Children and other Artificial Pets.

What to do?

We have to Accept that the Rational System will Take Care of Us. If this happens we have to leave behind the Calvinistic Work Ethic and Enjoy Life in the Artificial Garden of Eden.

We will live in a Artificial Reality created by the Simulator (the Matrix). If we want to stay out of this Artificial Garden of Eden we have to Stop the System and start to do the Dirty Work again.

We can also accept the machines and do the things humans were created for and become creators and caretakers ourselves..

LINKS

About the Matrix

Why the Robot will take over everything we do

About the Device Paradigm of Alfred Borgman and Artificial Reality

About the Middle Ages

About the Industrial Revolution

About the End of Social Cohesion

About Rationalism

About the Human Scale

About the Autistic Computer

About the strange effects of the Care Industry

About the Struggle of the Classes

About RIAB the Robot Nurse