Interesting article and claim by Kazem Chaharbaghi and Sandy Cripps (2006). Intellectual Capital: Direction, not blind Faith, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 7 (#1) 29-42.
Intellectual capital (IC) has been touted as important to knowledge intensive situations and organizations, but these authors find that traditional management approaches can be self-defeating to the appropriate functioning of IC. Organizational ecology should nurture IC shifting from directing to enabling exploration that seeks innovation and discovery. It is somewhat similar to a recent HBR podcast featuring Robert Kaplan suggesting that leaders cannot possible know everything including the right questions to ask about their business. Instead leaders need to seek out, enable, listen to, and appropriate the analysis of junior partners around them if they desire the best in analysis and direction.
We need to revisit the fundamental principles of work design AND the basic rules used to configure hierarchical organizations in which the primary assumption is that knowledge is put to use in a vertical chain of decision-making. I am not arguing that we need to replace hierarchy holus-bolus. Rather, I am suggesting that the capabilities of information systems combined with social computing capabilities and two decades of experience with team development and organizational development processes can permit centralization (read hierarchy) where and when necessary, and networked configurations where and when necessary … both centralization and decentralization.