Jeremy Aarons of Dubbings and Diversions asks a familiar question, Who isn't a knowledge worker?
The point I’m making is that although we may seem to have a strong intuitive idea of what knowledge work consists of, it really isn’t clear what sort of work isn’t knowledge work. Maybe this isn’t a serious problem, but I think that it at least shows that our intuitions about knowledge work are actually not all that clear.
For example, ponder this question: Are robots knowledge workers or not?
[he also has done some research on Who is a knowledge worker?]
Depending on how you want to define knowledge work, just about anything has knowledge components embedded in it. Even traditional "manual" labor has some knowledge components, though we usually think of things like assembly line and repetitive work as being none-too-deep.
How important is this distinction, I wonder? I am thinking that it is important to highlight the function the person performs. I'll be high-knowledge roles perform rote tasks that aren't so k-intensive. It is when one is doing knowledge work that they need the support: from their management, their environment, and even from themselves.