In that study McKinsey classifies labor into
- tacit work (i.e. complex interactions)
- transactional work (i.e. routine interactions)
- transformational work (i.e. extraction or conversation of raw materials)
Tacit work is, what others usually call knowledge work. The study shows, that in developed countries tacit work accounts for close to 50% of the overall work. This straight and simple definition of especially non-tacit labor clearly shows, that standardization and automation won’t work to raise the productivity of knowledge workers. Such work is characterized in contrast to routine work, because the bread-and-butter of knowledge workers is about dealing with exceptions and new challenges as well as variations. They can raise their productivity by getting rid of information overload and by raising the effectiveness of what they do.