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Knowledge Management Research and Practice
Thrive in Future of Work through
Managing Innovative Knowledge

There has been an ongoing debate on the future of work in both academic and policymaking circles, as the world is facing dynamic changes in technology, global economy, natural climate, and demographic trends (Hirschi, 2018; Lent, 2013). While numerous predictions have been made about the characteristics of our future work and careers, “many are based on crude projections of what might be, giving rise to gloomy forecasts” (Howcroft & Rubery, 2019, p. 213). However, the consensus is that the world of work is going to be transformed dramatically and become faster paced, more diverse, and increasingly unpredictable (Howcroft & Rubery, 2019; Lent, 2018).

 

Research has begun to look at ways that may enable organizations and individuals to be ready for the unsettling changes in future work and careers (Jimenez et al., 2017; Lent, 2018). Evidence indicates that knowledge is a critical driving force for individuals to thrive at work (Spreitzer et al., 2005) and for organizations to gain a competitive advantage (Karia, 2018; Moustaghfir, 2009). For the individual, effective information and knowledge resources motivate a person’s active and purposeful behaviors, leading him or her to become self-determined and energized when sustainably growing at work (Spreitzer & Porath, 2014). For the organization, the combination of diverse knowledge domains at different levels (e.g., teams and work units) can foster a creative workforce, ultimately benefiting operational effectiveness (Hunter et al., 2012; Taylor & Greve, 2006). A key message from the extant research is that future work readiness requires employees and employers to place strategic value on knowledge resources, which allow them to seize opportunities and tackle challenges in volatile environments.

              

While knowledge is considered a resource that contributes to individuals’ career capital (Brown et al., 2020), not all types of knowledge will make workers competitive and stand out in the future world of work. A general or requisite core knowledge base for a job may enable employees to survive at work. However, thriving in future careers require individuals to effectively explore, gain, and manage knowledge that is distinctive and innovative enough to fuel them with continuous energy and new learnings (Mahomed & Rothmann, 2019; Spreitzer et al., 2005). Research suggests that it will be innovative knowledge that helps people maximize the chance of securing future meaningful work, adapt to uncertain and challenging work environments, and enhance their career mobility (Brown, 2015; Venkatraman et al., 2018). Individual employees’ innovative and creative expertise forms a valuable pool of the organization’s innovative knowledge assets, which constitute significant performance advantages that drive its forward movement (He & Wang, 2009).

 

Indeed, innovation has long been emphasized in the knowledge management literature, not only about innovativeness in the content of knowledge but for the processes and systems used to manage knowledge (e.g., Nowacki & Bachnik, 2016; Taylor & Greve, 2006). To date, however, the field of knowledge management has not yet explored its specific and unique roles, functions, and mechanisms in facilitating the organization and the employee to navigate the developing world of work.  As a result, numerous gaps remain in our understanding of how innovative knowledge can be generated and managed to enable people’s thriving in future work and careers. For example, what does innovative knowledge exactly mean from the perspective of the meaningfulness of future work? What dimensions of innovative knowledge play a meaningful part in shaping future-ready workforce? What are the roles of organizations and managers in maximizing the benefits of innovative knowledge management to employees’ career futures? The theoretical underpinnings of these complex relationships are largely absent in existing literature, as are their empirical foundations.

 

This special issue seeks to improve our theoretical and empirical understanding of these areas. We welcome submissions that address broad areas of knowledge management, innovation, future of work, meaningful careers, thriving, and human growth. Authors are also encouraged to examine these areas in disadvantaged and diversity groups. Papers that draw on interdisciplinary insights and methodology from management, psychology, social policy, economics, education, and other disciplines are particularly welcome.  Submissions may focus on, but are not limited to, the following topics:

 

  • What defines innovative knowledge that makes individuals thrive in work and career contexts?

  • What constitutes the innovative nature of an organization’s knowledge management process in the context of future work?

  • How do innovative knowledge management systems influence employees’ conceptualization of future careers? 

  • What conditions can consolidate or weaken the ability of innovative knowledge management in building employees’ career capital?

  • How can knowledge-based interactions in organizations build future-ready, creative workforce in the age of industrial transformation? 

  • How can innovative knowledge management systems protect employees’ career futures during crisis (e.g., COVID-19)? 

  • How can individuals innovatively self-manage knowledge to thrive (versus survive) in traumatic career situations?

  • How does interpersonal exchange of innovative knowledge affect workers’ career identification and motivation? 

  • How can sharing/hiding innovative knowledge influence individuals’ career advancement within and outside the current organization? 

  • How do innovative knowledge-driven interactions with customers and external stakeholders influence employees’ thriving at work and in future career?

  • How can individuals generate innovative knowledge to build future-oriented, personally meaningful careers? 

 

Subject areas

  • Knowledge management

  • Future of work

  • Career development

  • Human resource management

  • Innovation management

Submission timeline

  • SI Call Opens: 1 June 2021

  • Submission deadline: 28 February 2022 (authors can submit papers from 1 June 2021)

  • First review round by: 30 June 2022

  • Second review round by: 31 October 2022

  • Final acceptance by: 31 December 2022

  • Publication: 2023
     

Guest Editors

 

Zhou Jiang is an Associate Professor in College of Business, Government and Law, Flinders University, Australia. He received his PhD in management from Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. He currently serves as an Associate Editor for Applied Psychology: An International Review, and seats on editorial boards of leading journals such as Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Vocational Behavior, and Human Resource Management Journal, and Australian Journal of Management. He has edited four special issues for journals, including Applied Psychology: An International Review, Journal of Business Research, Social Indicators Research, and International Migration. His research interests include knowledge management, human resource management, career development, organizational behavior, and workplace and subjective wellbeing. zhou.jiang@flinders.edu.au

Zhiming Cheng is UNSW Scientia Associate Professor of Economics in the Social Policy Research Centre and the Centre for Social Research in Health at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney), Australia. He has published widely in the economics of labour market, happiness and migration in such journals as Journal of Business Venturing, Human Relations and Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. He held the Jacob Wertheim Fellowship for the Betterment of Industrial Relations at Harvard University and Research Fellowship at the Bank of Finland. He is a fellow of the Centre for Workforce Futures at Macquarie Business School, the Global Labor Organization and Global Young Academy as well as an associate investigator of UNSW Ageing Futures Institute. zhiming.cheng@unsw.edu.au

 

Menglong Huo is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Human Resource Management at University of South Australia. He received PhD in management from University of Auckland, New Zealand. His research is centered on work design, human resource management, high-involvement work processes, employee well-being, and work performance. His works have appeared in journals such as Human Resource Management Journal and International Journal of Human Resource Management, Economic and Industrial Democracy, and Journal of Industrial Relations. Frank.Huo@unisa.edu.au

Ashokkumar Manoharan is a Senior Lecturer (Senior Assistant Professor) at College of Business, Government and Law, Flinders University, Australia. He received his PhD in management from University of South Australia. His research interests focus on human resource management, the culturally diverse workforce, migrant employees, diversity management practices, small and medium enterprises, and organizational culture. He has published a number of articles in high impact, peer-reviewed journals such as International Journal of Hospitality Management, Journal of Industrial Relations, and Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management. ashokkumar.manoharan@flinders.edu.au

Janice Jones is an Associate Professor in College of Business, Government and Law, Flinders University, Australia. Her research centres on the interfaces between digital technologies, and the future of work, particularly the fourth industrial revolution; and knowledge, networks, and innovation. She has published a number of articles in high impact, peer-reviewed journals including Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Technological Transfer, Small Business Economics, and International Journal of Human Resource Management, as well as media outlets including The Conversation. janice.jones@flinders.edu.au
 

John Spoehr is a Strategic Professor in business, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Impact), and Director of Australian Industrial Transformation Institute at Flinders University, Australia. His research focuses on industry and workplace transformation in the context of technological change and innovation, industrial diversification, and the future of industry and work. He publishes extensively on economic and industry development, employment, unemployment and the socio-economic impact of change. His work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Labor and Industry, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, and Journal of Environmental Management. john.spoehr@flinders.edu.au

References

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He, J., & Wang, H. C. (2009). Innovative knowledge assets and economic performance: The asymmetric roles of incentives and monitoring. Academy of Management Journal, 52(5), 919-938. https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2009.44633414 
 

Hirschi, A. (2018). The fourth industrial revolution: Issues and implications for career research and practice. The Career Development Quarterly, 66(3), 192-204. https://doi.org/10.1002/cdq.12142 
 

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