Your title captures an important insight; the knowledge economy allows significant distribution of nodes of knowledge, means of production, etc. To get the value of that, resources have to be distributed. If people can’t figure out how to trust other people, all that value goes unachieved. Or, more likely, it accrues to other organizations or networks who HAVE figured out how to trust each other.
I’ve referred several times to articles at the Trusted Advisor because trust is such an important factor in knowledge work as knowledge and innovation cannot be effectively coerced from workers.
Here’s Charles on Measuring and Managing:
If you can measure it, you can manage it; if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it; if you can’t manage it, it’s because you can’t measure it; and if you managed it, it’s because you measured it.
Every one of those statements is wrong. But business eats it up. And it’s easy to see why …
The ubiquity of measurement inexorably leads people to mistake the measures themselves for the things they were intended to measure.
And a post on measuring ROI for soft skills training [because we don’t trust workers] and the perversion of individual measurement:
Most soft skills deal with our relationships to others. The drive to individually behavioralize, then metricize, has the effect of killing relationships—an ironic outcome for relationship-targeting training.
In the learning & development business there is much focus on compliance training, especially since regulatory compliance accounts for a significant amount of learning content development and learning management technology sales. However, there are few sales pitches that say, go ahead, let your employees decide what’s best for them. Trust, it seems, doesn’t sell stuff. If you trust workers to manage their learning, you don’t need an LMS. If you trust them to get things done, you don’t need a tracking system. If you trust them to learn you don’t need as much pre-programmed training because they will find what’s best. If you trust them to be self-directed or group-directed learners they would have a say in their own training budget and I doubt they would vote to buy an LMS.
There is little doubt that organizational structures need to change and that management models need to adapt to deal with increasing complexity. Shifting from a hierarchy to a wirearchy requires a foundation of shared information, knowledge, power and trust. Trust shifts not only how an organization works but also many of traditional relationships with customers and suppliers. If all businesses trusted employees, how many training companies would go out of business?