ORIENTATION: Organisations are still structured according to the Industrial Age control model
that restricts optimising the expertise of knowledge workers.
RESEARCH PURPOSE: The general aim of the research was to explore the organisation design
elements and competencies that contribute to optimising the expertise of knowledge workers
in a shared services centre.
MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Current organisational design methodologies do not emphasise
optimising the expertise of knowledge workers. This research addresses the challenge of
how an organisation design can improve the creation and availability of the expertise of
RESEARCH DESIGN/APPROACH METHOD: The researcher followed a qualitative case study research
design and collected data in six focus group sessions (N = 25).
MAIN FINDINGS: The findings showed that the shared services centre (SSC) is not designed
to enable its structure, culture and codifying system to optimise the expertise of knowledge
workers. In addition, the SSC does not share the knowledge generated with other knowledge
workers. Furthermore, it does not use the output of the knowledge workers to improve
PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The expertise of knowledge workers is the basis of
competitive advantage. Therefore, managers should create an organisational design that is
conducive to optimising knowledge work expertise.
CONTRIBUTION/VALUE ADD: This research highlights the important organisational design
elements and supportive organisational structures for optimising the expertise of knowledge
workers. The research also proposes a framework for optimising the expertise of knowledge
workers and helping an organisation to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.