Main Article Content


The purpose of this research is to inquire about the different considerations and perspectives that arise regarding the concept of productivity in the knowledge work context, as well as the main challenges that emerge in knowledge workers’ productivity management. A group of managers and workers from organizations in the knowledge-intensive services sector was interviewed. We resorted to content analysis to process the information, taking borrowing elements extracted from the systematic literature review for coding purposes. The perspectives among the interviewees regarding the concept of productivity diverge, and these differences are connected to the type of company and the role of the interviewee: manager or worker. The challenges reported include time management, complexity, heterogeneity, intangibility and task multiplicity, as well as the challenge for managers to set guidelines to measure and monitor productivity without affecting worker welfare. It becomes necessary to approach the concept of productivity from a holistic perspective, and to implement alternative managerial practices that take into account the nature of the work done, worker satisfaction and the diverse perspectives of stakeholders.

Omar Alberto Tapasco-Alzate, Universidad de Caldas

Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics, School of Exact and Natural Sciences, Universidad de Caldas Manizales, Colombia. Chemical Engineer, Doctor (c) in Engineering- Industry and Organizations, Universidad Nacional de Colombia Sede Manizales, Colombia.

Jaime Alberto Giraldo-García, Universidad Nacional de Colombia Sede Manizales

Head Professor, Industrial Engineering Program, School of Engineering and Architecture, Universidad Nacional de Colombia Sede Manizales, Colombia. Industrial Engineer, Doctor in Engineering, Universidad Nacional de Colombia Sede Manizales, Colombia.

David Osorio-García, Universidad de Caldas

Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, School of Legal and Social Sciences, Universidad de Caldas, Manizales, Colombia. Anthropologist, Master in Social Sciences, Universidad de Caldas, Colombia.

Tapasco-Alzate, O. A., Giraldo-García, J. A., & Osorio-García, D. (2020). Work productivity management in knowledge-intensive service companies: considerations and challenges. Cuadernos De Administración, 36(66), 64–77.

Adriaenssen, D. J., Johannessen, D. A., & Johannessen, J. A. (2016). Knowledge management and performance: Developing a theoretical approach to knowledge workers’ productivity, and practical tools for managers. Problems and Perspectives in Management, 14(3), 667-676.

Anitsal, I., & Schumann, D. (2007). Toward a Conceptualization of Customer Productivity: The Customer’s Perspective on Transforming Customer Labor into Customer Outcomes Using Technology-Based Self-Service Options. The Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 15(4), 349-363.

Antikainen, R., & Lönnqvist, A. (2006). Knowledge work productivity assessment. Institute of Industrial Management. Tampere, Finland: Tampere University Tecnhology. Retrieved from

Arsalan, M.R, Dahooei, J.H, & Shojai, A.Z. (2014). A value-based framework for the assessment of knowledge workers. VINE, 44(2), 295-318.

Dahooie, J.H., Arsalan, M.R., & Shojai, A.Z. (2018). A valid and applicable measurement method for knowledge worker productivity. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 67(9), 1764-1791.

Davenport, T. H. (2008). Improving Knowledge Worker Performance. From Strategy to Execution, 215-235.

Díaz L. G. (2002). Estadística Multivariada: inferencia y métodos. Bogotá, Colombia: Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Djellal, F., & Gallouj, F. (2013). The productivity challenge in services: Measurement and strategic perspectives. Service Industries Journal, 33(3-4), 282-299.

Drucker, P. (1999). Knowledge-Worker Productivity: The Biggest Challenge. California Management Review, 41(2), 79-94.

Erne, R. (2011). What is Productivity in Knowledge Work? Journal of Universal Computer Science, 17(10), 1367-1389. Retrieved from

Flick, U. (Ed.). (2014). The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis. Washington, D.C., USA: SAGE Publications.

Grönroos, C., & Ojasalo, K. (2004). Service productivity - Towards a conceptualization of the transformation of inputs into economic results in services. Journal of Business Research, 57(4), 414-423. doi

Jääskeläinen, A., Laihonen, H., & Lönnqvist, A. (2014). Distinctive features of service performance measurement. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 34(12), 1466-1486.

Laihonen, H., Jääskeläinen, A., Lönnqvist, A., & Ruostela, J. (2012). Measuring the productivity impacts of new ways of working. Journal of Facilities Management, 10(2), 102-113.

López, A., y Ramos, D. (2013). ¿Pueden los servicios intensivos en conocimiento ser un nuevo motor de crecimiento en América Latina? Revista Iberoamericana de Ciencia, Tecnología y Sociedad -CTS, 24(8), 83-115. Recuperado de

Moussa, M., Bright, M., & Varua, M. (2017). Investigating Knowledge Workers’ Productivity Using Work Design Theory. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 66(6).

Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods (3a ed.). London, England: Sage Publications.

Ramirez, Y. W., & Nembhard, D. A. (2004). Measuring knowledge worker productivity. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 5(4), 602-628.

Ramirez, Y. W., & Steudel, H. J. (2008). Measuring knowledge work: the knowledge work quantification framework. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 9(4), 564-584.

Rannacher, A., Stranzenbach, R., Sturm, F., Mütze-niewöhner, S., y Schlick, C. (2013). A System Dynamics Model for the Evaluation of the Productivity of Knowledge-intensive Services. IBusiness, 5(3B), 55-58.

Ruostela, J., & Lönnqvist, A. (2013). Exploring More Productive Ways of Working. International Journal of Social, Behavioral, Educational, Economic, Business and Industrial Engineering, 7(1), 153-161. Retrieved from

Rutkauskas, J., & Paulavicien, E. (2005). Concept of Productivity in Service Sector. Engineering Economics, 43(3), 29-34. Retrieved from

Schreier, M. (2012). Qualitative Content Analysis in Practice. London, England: Sage Publications.

Spira, J., & Feintuch, J. (2005). The cost of not paying attention: how interruption impacts knowledge worker productivity. New York, USA: Basex, Inc. Retrieved from

Tangen, S. (2005). Demystifying productivity and performance. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 54(1), 34-46.

Received 2019-08-28
Accepted 2020-02-10
Published 2020-02-10