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Assumptions, assertions and the need for evidence: debugging debates about knowledge workers

Darr, A. and Warhurst, C. (2008) Assumptions, assertions and the need for evidence: debugging debates about knowledge workers. Current Sociology, 56 (1). pp. 25-45. ISSN 0011-3921

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Abstract

Despite growing interest in the knowledge economy, the work practice of its key workers has remained neglected. This article reviews the key sociological and managerial debates about ascendant knowledge workers. The authors argue that both debates assume, rather than empirically examine, changing work practices and through a leap of faith move on to discuss the enhanced class position of knowledge workers and the managerial challenges that they pose. The authors postulate that omission of work practice undermines such claims. They critique both debates, presenting an alternative, empirically sensitive research agenda to help overcome the existing analytical myopia.