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The scheme of discussion under the above stated caption is as follow:-


  1. Introductory observations
  2. Productivity defined
  3. Problems in measuring productivity of knowledge workers

a. Introductory Observations

Productivity is one of the major concerns of managers of today; and will be more of a matter of concern for managers of tomorrow all over the world. In fact, productivity is something which accounts for profitable operations of an enterprises, and provides opportunities to an enterprises for remaining competitive and successful, in an era of global competition. 

b. Productivity defined

In fact, there is no general agreement on a universal meaning of the term productivity. However, it may be defined as the output- inputs ratio, within a given time period and with due consideration for quality of performance.

c. Problems in measuring productivity of knowledge workers

Measurement of the productivity of skill workers (like brick-layers, mechanics, butchers etc.) is easier; but it becomes more difficult to measure the productivity of knowledge workers (like managers, engineers, programmers). Skill workers mainly operate on the basis of their technical skills; whereas knowledge workers mostly use their knowledge while discharging their jobs. Technical skills of knowledge workers are subordinate to their knowledge, which is their basic asset.

Productivity of knowledge workers is more difficult to measure, because of the following reasons;

i. Knowledge workers contribute indirectly to the final product e.g. engineers.

ii. Knowledge workers provide assistance to other organizational units. For example, it is difficult to say how much improvement in the sales is due to the efforts of the advertising manager or how much improvement is there in labor management relations, because of the efforts of the personnel manager.

iii. It is difficult to measure the quality of the actions of the knowledge workers. For example, the success of a strategy formulated by the General Manager may not be known for years; as the success of failure of a strategy depends on many external factors, over which the manager has no control.

Despite the limitations of measuring productivity of knowledge workers, it is a fact that greatest scope for increasing productivity lies in the work performed by knowledge workers eg. Managers, engineers, cost accountants etc.