The nature of knowledge work, and the value of the term itself, is a much discussed question. See, for instance, this conversation on the nature of knowledge work from earlier this year. Although I don’t believe that the term “knowledge worker” is irrelevant, I do share Tony Karrers’s unease with the almost generic application of the term:
I’ve often been a little bothered by the fact that we categorize the a person working in a call center handling customer service requests in the same category as an engineer working in R&D – they are both called knowledge workers. That’s not as helpful as it should be.
To make the distinction more useful, Tony prefers the term “Concept Worker”.
That’s why I’m liking the idea of referring to work that involves figuring out unknowns as concept work and the people doing this work as concept workers. This more succinctly and clearly differentiates the issue for me.
I like it, too. (Except for the “worker” part, of course, but I think we are stuck with that for now.)