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Property in knowledge work: an appropriation‐learning perspective

Property in knowledge work: an appropriation‐learning perspective Purpose – The aim of this paper i s to understand the competitive and collaborative relations existing between people practising in the same professional occupation, but working within different organisation contexts of employment. Design/methodology/approach – An interview study of 42 in‐house and external lawyers is reported and set within contexts of the knowledge management and internationalisation of legal services. The data are analysed from an appropriation‐learning perspective and then discussed for the extent that these two groups make similar claims to property in work. Findings – The in‐house lawyers give highest priority to the protection of resources and knowledge and aim to achieve it through trust in work relationships and by sharing, diffusing and controlling knowledge. By contrast, issues concerning individual reward and empowerment were seen as lower priority. External lawyers attach similar importance to knowledge sharing, its diffusion and control, but have slightly less concern for protecting knowledge and resources. They place less emphasis on trust and seem to value empowerment through legal innovation more so than do the in‐house lawyers. Research limitations/implications – Future research should be conducted on occupational and sub‐groups of knowledge workers to understand more systematically the dynamics of knowledge management, and the opportunities and constraints it creates for employees' property in work. Originality/value – The research contributes to the literature on employees' property claims in work. It reflects on the extent that individuals' work identities must systematically adapt to different organisation contexts and approaches to knowledge management. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Employee Relations: An International Journal Emerald Publishing

Property in knowledge work: an appropriation‐learning perspective

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0142-5455
DOI
10.1108/01425450910916823
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The aim of this paper i s to understand the competitive and collaborative relations existing between people practising in the same professional occupation, but working within different organisation contexts of employment. Design/methodology/approach – An interview study of 42 in‐house and external lawyers is reported and set within contexts of the knowledge management and internationalisation of legal services. The data are analysed from an appropriation‐learning perspective and then discussed for the extent that these two groups make similar claims to property in work. Findings – The in‐house lawyers give highest priority to the protection of resources and knowledge and aim to achieve it through trust in work relationships and by sharing, diffusing and controlling knowledge. By contrast, issues concerning individual reward and empowerment were seen as lower priority. External lawyers attach similar importance to knowledge sharing, its diffusion and control, but have slightly less concern for protecting knowledge and resources. They place less emphasis on trust and seem to value empowerment through legal innovation more so than do the in‐house lawyers. Research limitations/implications – Future research should be conducted on occupational and sub‐groups of knowledge workers to understand more systematically the dynamics of knowledge management, and the opportunities and constraints it creates for employees' property in work. Originality/value – The research contributes to the literature on employees' property claims in work. It reflects on the extent that individuals' work identities must systematically adapt to different organisation contexts and approaches to knowledge management.

Journal

Employee Relations: An International JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 21, 2008

Keywords: Knowledge management; Lawyers; Generation and dissemination of information; Empowerment; Retention; Human resource management

References

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