In the past, Socrates said that the only function of knowledge is “to know oneself”. And Protagoras, a philosopher comparable to Socrates, said, “Knowledge is what makes knowledgeable people know what to say and how to tell it”. In other words, knowledge was not “the ability to do something”.
In both the West and the East, knowledge has always been thought to apply to “being”. From the moment, however, knowledge begins to be applied to “doing”. Knowledge itself has become a resource and practical.
The first turning point in the change of the meaning of knowledge was “Industrial Revolution”. Since the Industrial Revolution, knowledge has begun to be applied to work tools, manufacturing processes, and products.
The second turning point was the time of World War II, when the “Productivity Revolution” peaked. The new knowledge that has changed during the Industrial Revolution became another “knowledge” of the new meaning through the Productivity Revolution. It was knowledge that applied to “work” itself.
The last turning point where the meaning of knowledge has changed is after the Second World War. After World War II, knowledge began to be applied to “knowledge” itself, which led to “Management Revolution”. And knowledge has become an important means of production together with capital and labor.
Knowledge is the only meaningful resource in modern society. Traditional production factors such as land, labor and capital have become relatively less important. Factors such as land, labor and capital have become something that can be acquired through knowledge.
Changes in the meaning of “knowledge” have changed society and the economy. Knowledge acquired through formal education in modern society has become an important resource for individuals and economic activities.
Many business executives manage their business with the knowledge acquired through education.
“Management” is how you decide how to apply “knowledge” to get more results. Using knowledge to define what new knowledge is needed for better results, what knowledge can solve the problem, and what to do to make that knowledge effective.
In other words, the activity that provides “knowledge” about how to apply knowledge is the modern management activity.
Management is required not only by corporations, but also by non-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies. These agencies may need more management because they are not aware of “profit and loss”.
Professional managers are “people who are responsible for the application and performance of knowledge”, but unfortunately many organizations and institutions still do not give management to professional managers.
Finally, land, labor, and capital are important production factors, but they are also relatively easy to obtain if you have effective management that applies knowledge to knowledge.
Here, acquiring other resources through knowledge can be called “accomplishment”. However, in order to achieve something through knowledge, highly specialized knowledge is needed. It is because highly specialized knowledge only allows us to acquire the necessary resources and bring about innovation.
This content is based on Professor Peter Drucker’s book “The Essential Drucker on Individuals”.