The knowledge work of general managers

Storey, John and Salaman, John (2005). The knowledge work of general managers. Journal of General Management, 31(2) pp. 57–73.




The article discusses a research that analyses the knowledge work undertaken by the executives of top management teams in ten organizations. The study was based on three methods: in-depth one-to-one interviews with each member of the respective executive teams; second, direct observation of management board meetings; and third, scrutiny of secondary sources. The questions explored in one-to-one interviews with senior teams focused on: an exploration of executives' interpretation of their role and what they thought was expected of them; their knowledge of the organization's business environment and the key changes; which information and knowledge about the business environment they regarded as most crucial for the company; and their understanding and interpretations of the current business model. The research revealed that knowing what the managers were expected to know and knowing when and how to change an interpretive schema were found especially difficult for them. Further, there was contention related to their knowledge on business models, strategy, organizational performance and organizational design. More conscious efforts have to be made in order to make it legitimate for senior managers to discuss and explore what kinds of knowledge they expect of each other and what kinds of knowing they do not necessarily expect each to display.

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