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Lost Knowledge

A colleague recently lent me her copy of David W. DeLong's 2004 book Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce. It's cheerful and chatty but overall rather thin soup, full of big-business name-dropping and repetitive consultant-speak anecdotes about organizational challenges. Yes, expert employees get old and retire — so what should a boss do about it? After almost 200 pages the "Principles for Action" sub-headings in Chapter 10 suggest:

Hmmm ... not exactly rocket science. It would have helped to have at least some semi-quantitative models in the text, some discussion of demographics that went beyond average employee age and years to retirement, some systems analysis beyond a quadrant chart, some evidence deeper than stories about the worth (or worthlessness) of knowledge capture information systems. The MIT "AgeLab", which author DeLong is affiliated with, has a similarly-thin web presence. Is this as good as it gets? Maybe I'm missing something ...

^z - 2012-01-13