Hyperspecialization – The future of work 3.0?
All people engaging in the Social Web are eager to pull, push and share all kinds of specializing topics in different areas of thoughts, interests and visions. In some way these people define a new development where the work of generalists is being cut into workload of networks of narrow experts or specialists. At least, Tom Malone, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of the Harvard Business Review article “The Age of Hyperspecialization,” sees this trend and explains in an HBR video why breaking jobs into tiny pieces yields better, faster, and cheaper work.
Malone sees the key “trend” behind this movement in “cheap communication technology” brought to us all over the world – more or less instantly and costlessly. Having said that, Malone’s illustration of scambled eggs being made ready to eat via the locations, Boston, China, Moscow, Paris and Singapore shows the limitation in the theory. For “brain workers”, it definitely makes sense and is a valid and applicable theory. Managers need to figure out how to break up traditional single job descriptions into pieces of hyperspecialist work and maybe rearrange their business processes if they want to make use of hyperspecialization.
What I definitely see is greater flexibility for employees in this movement. The development offers also some massive opportunity for freelancers being integrated into different projects. Thus, I would ask, whether the work of employees, sitting in office, could not easily be outsourced to even more specialized freelancers. Or if it will be more difficult to coordinate these specialists? Or would this be the work of a hyperspecialist again?
Is this really a new trend? Is this the normal evolution of worklife and business? Is this another step towards workplace 3.0, the mobile workplace? How do you see that…?