Shreds of evidence
Evidence is needed to help decide which of three readings is most accurate. Organizations might be having difficulty building and retaining the core as a result of the move from a relationship to a transaction. Alternatively, they might have put together transactions that work: the exchange of knowledge work for employability might be one that retains the knowledge worker's services. Finally, organizations might have continued to enjoy perfectly good relationships with their core. They might have maintained an adequate separation between their core and periphery, rather than allowing the need for contingency and transactions to permeate to the core. If everything to do with knowledge workers, in terms of their satisfaction and plans to stay, is found to be fine, then, presumably, organizations have built perfectly good relationships with them or at least they have found transactions that work.
The initial evidence might seem quite positive. Certainly, anything wrong might not be self-evident to the CEO who sees a booming stock price and general 'good news' on the health of the business. If there are any problems on the human resources (HR) front, the CEO might reason, they are not sufficient to be having an impact and are probably not worth worrying about. However, it is worth the CEO taking a deeper look because it is just possible that behind the good news of the quarterly results lies the bad news concerning the core human resource. Perhaps, organizations do not have a manifest problem at present, but behind the good news of higher earnings per share bought by delayerings and mergers there might lie the potential bad news of staff with lessened commitment and loyalty. It is the HR equivalent of living off capital. Future growth based upon the intellectual capital of a committed core of knowledge workers will be harder to achieve.
The first type of evidence concerns whether high potential staff are tending towards or away from being basically committed as well as