Fare well speach: If the fences are taken away: sheep will walk every where

2007 – This is a farewell speech of Prof. dr. Ing. Pierre van Amelsvoort, special professor at Nijmegen University. In the speech Van Amelsvoort describes the importance of the productivity issue, he presents a definition of knowledge work and an analysis of the productivity of knowledge workers. Besides Van Amelsvoort reflects on wastefulness and explores some solutions.


Labour productivity and knowledge work

The speech starts with a description of the literature about labour producitivity, followed by a definition of knowledge work and the normal organisational forms. The speech continuous with an exposé about the spillage of producitivty. Here the division of labour is put central and related to the possible productivity spillage.


Network organisation

Then Van Amelsvoort explains – using nine scenarios – how an increase of productivity can be realized. The scenarios are a mix of measures ranking from integration of roles on an individual level to redistribution of work on national and international level.

The ninth scenario concerns the creation of a network organisation. This is a hot topic, but it is not easy. That is why the speaker goes further into the conditions for cooperation in a network organisation as presented by Fry (Fry, 1990)



The speaker concludes that productivity of knowledge workers is an important issue for our society. In the classic organisation that employs knowledge workers there is still a lot spillage. Increasing productivity by changing the division of labour is a though topic that causes deep feelings. The making of a productive network organisation is is not only a matter of stopping bureaucratic hindrances, there is also a considerable set of organizational conditions. Some help by management scientists would be nice to obtain answers about how it will work in practice. Finally some sorrows are expressed about the science of business administration.  



Amelsvoort, Pierre, van (2007) Als het hek van de dam is, lopen de schapen overal. Afscheidsrede Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. (If the fences are taken away, the sheep will walk everywhere. Farewell speech at Nijmegen University).

Keywords: Flexible organisation