Original Research

Organisational design elements and competencies for optimising the expertise of knowledge workers in a shared services centre

Mark Ramsey, Nicolene Barkhuizen
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 9, No 1 | a307 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v9i1.307 | © 2011 Mark Ramsey, Nicolene Barkhuizen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 June 2010 | Published: 23 August 2011

About the author(s)

Mark Ramsey, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Nicolene Barkhuizen, Department of Human Resource Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: Organisations are still structured according to the Industrial Age control model that restricts optimising the expertise of knowledge workers.

Research purpose: The general aim of the research was to explore the organisation design elements and competencies that contribute to optimising the expertise of knowledge workers in a shared services centre.

Motivation for the study: Current organisational design methodologies do not emphasise optimising the expertise of knowledge workers. This research addresses the challenge of how an organisation design can improve the creation and availability of the expertise of knowledge workers.

Research design/approach method: The researcher followed a qualitative case study research design and collected data in six focus group sessions (N = 25).

Main findings: The findings showed that the shared services centre (SSC) is not designed to enable its structure, culture and codifying system to optimise the expertise of knowledge workers. In addition, the SSC does not share the knowledge generated with other knowledge workers. Furthermore, it does not use the output of the knowledge workers to improve business processes.

Practical/managerial implications: The expertise of knowledge workers is the basis of competitive advantage. Therefore, managers should create an organisational design that is conducive to optimising knowledge work expertise.

Contribution/value add: This research highlights the important organisational design elements and supportive organisational structures for optimising the expertise of knowledge workers. The research also proposes a framework for optimising the expertise of knowledge workers and helping an organisation to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.


Keywords

knowledge; knowledge management; expertise of knowledge workers; organisational design; shared services centre

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doi: 10.4102/sajhrm.v15i0.857