Job Specialization And The Division Of Labour


Car production has changed dramatically over the years as managers have applied different views or philosophies of management to organize and control work activities. Prior to 1900, workers worked in small groups, cooperating to hand-build cars with parts that often had to be altered and modified to fit together. This system, a type of small-batch production, was very expensive; assembling just one car took, moving conveyor belts bring the car to the workers.

Each individual worker performs a single assigned task along a production line, and the speed of the conveyor belt is the primary means of controlling their activities. Ford experimented to discover the most efficient way for each individual worker to perform an assigned task. The result was that each worker performed one siderable time and effort; and workers could produce only a few cars in a day. To reduce costs and sell more cars, managers of early car companies needed better techniques to increase efficiency.

Henry Ford revolutionized the car industry. In 1913, Ford opened the Highland Park car plant in Detroit to produce the Model T. Ford and his team of manufacturing managers pioneered the development of mass-production manufacturing, a system that made the small-batch system almost obsolete overnight.

In 1913, Henry Ford revolutionized the production process of a car by pioneering mass-production manufacturing, a production system in which a conveyor belt brings each car photo, taken in 1904 inside Daimler Motor Co., is an example of the use of small-batch production, a production system in which small groups of people work together and perform all the tasks needed to assemble a product. to the workers, and each individual worker performs a single task along the production line. Even today, cars are built using this system, as shown in this photo of workers along a computerized automobile assembly line, specialized task, such as bolting on the door or attaching the door handle, and jobs in the Ford car plant became very repetitive.

Ford’s management approach increased efficiency and reduced costs so much that by 1920 he was able to reduce the price of a car by two-thirds and sell over two million cars a year.2 Ford Motor Company ( became the leading car company in the world, and many competitors rushed to adopt the new mass-production techniques. Two of these companies, General Motors (GM) and Chrysler, eventually emerged as Ford’s major competitors.

The CEOs of GM and Chrysler-Alfred Sloan and Walter Chrysler-went beyond simple imitation of the Ford approach by adopting a new strategy: offering customers a wide variety of cars to choose from. To keep costs low, Henry Ford had offered customers only one car-the Model T. The new strategy of offering a wide range of models was so popular that Ford was eventually forced to close his factory for seven months in order to reorganize his manufacturing system to widen his product range. Due to his limited vision of the changing car market, his company lost its competitive advantage. During the early 1930s, GM became the market leader.

The next revolution in car production took place not in the United States but in Japan. A change in management thinking occurred there when Ohno Taiichi, a Toyota production engineer, pioneered the development of lean manufacturing in the 1960s after touring the US plants of the Big Three car companies. The management philosophy behind lean manufacturing is to continuously find methods to improve the efficiency of the production process in order to reduce costs, increase quality, and reduce car assembly time.

In lean manufacturing, workers work on a moving production line, but they are organized into small teams, each of which is responsible for a particular phase of car assembly, such as installing the car’s transmission or electrical wiring system. Each team member is expected to learn all the tasks of all members of his or her team, and each work group is charged with the responsibility not only to assemble cars but also to continuously find ways to increase quality and reduce costs. By 1970, Japanese managers had applied the new lean production system so efficiently that they were producing higher-quality cars at lower prices than their US counterparts, and by 1980 Japanese companies were dominating the global car market.

To compete with the Japanese, managers at the Big Three car makers visited Japan to learn lean production methods. In recent years, Chrysler Canada has been the North American model for speed in automobile production. Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario assembly plant opened in 1928, and over 54 years built its first five million vehicles. Less than 11 years later, in 1994, the plant reached the eight million mark.

Chrysler’s Windsor facility has made a reputation for itself as “the biggest single experiment with flexible manufacturing methods at one site.” In the last 20 years, the plant has been so successful that Ken Lewenza, President of Local 444 of the expected to meet peak demand for the firm’s most popular products. On July 24, 2000, the plant reopened its doors after being shut down for just two weeks to retool for the newest generation of DaimlerChrysler AG minivans, due in dealers’ showrooms a month later. That was by far Windsor’s quickest turnover, but flexible manufacturing procedures introduced in 1983 have enabled the plant to display North America’s speediest production turnovers. In 1982-83, the plant shut down for 16 weeks to retool from making sedans to the first models of the Chrysler minivan, and then in 1995, it closed for 12 weeks for retooling to produce the next generation of minivans.

While the Windsor facility has been a model for quick turnarounds, Canada’s auto industry in general has fared well with the advancements in lean production methods. One analyst suggested that Canada is “in the golden era of the auto sector in Canada,” with a chance to outpace Michigan as early as 2001.

As this sketch of the evolution of global car manufacturing suggests, changes in management practices occur as managers, theorists, researchers, and consultants seek new ways to increase organizational efficiency and effectiveness. The driving force behind the evolution of management theory is the search for better ways to utilize organizational resources. Advances in management theory typically occur as managers and researchers find better ways to perform the principal management tasks: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling human and other organizational resources.

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Scientific Management Theory:

The evolution of modern management began in the closing decades of the nineteenth century, after the industrial revolution had swept through Europe, Canada, and the United States. In the new economic climate, managers of all types of organizations-political, educational, and economic-were increasingly trying to find better ways to satisfy customers’ needs. Many major economic, technical, and cultural changes were taking place at this time. The introduction of steam power and the development of sophisticated machinery and equipment changed the way in which goods were produced, particularly in the weaving and clothing industries. Small workshops run by skilled workers who produced hand-manufactured products (a system called crafts production) were being replaced by large factories in which sophisticated machines controlled by hundreds or even thousands of unskilled or semiskilled workers made products.

Owners and managers of the new factories found themselves unprepared for the challenges accompanying the change from small-scale crafts production to large-scale mechanized manufacturing. Many of the managers and supervisors had only a technical orientation, and were unprepared for the social problems that occur when people work together in large groups (as in a factory or shop system). Managers began to search for new techniques to manage their organizations’ resources, and soon they began to focus on ways to increase the efficiency of the worker-task mix.

Job Specialization and the Division of Labour:

Manufacturing methods. The first was similar to crafts-style production, in which each worker was responsible for all of the 18 tasks involved in producing a pin. The other had each worker performing only 1 or a few of the 18 tasks that go into making a completed pin.

Smith found that factories in which workers specialized in only 1 or a few tasks had greater performance than factories in which each worker performed all 18 pin-making tasks. In fact, Smith found that workers specializing in a particular task could, between them, make 48,000 pins a day, whereas those workers who performed all the tasks could make only a few thousand at most. Smith reasoned that this difference in performance was due to the fact that the workers who specialized became much more skilled at their specific tasks, and, as a group, were thus able to produce a product faster than the group of workers who each had to job specialization The process by which a division of labour occurs as perform many tasks. Smith concluded that increasing the level of job specialization-the process by which a division of labour occurs as different workers specialize in different tasks over time-increases efficiency and leads to higher Based on Adam Smith’s observations, early management practitioners and theorists focused on how managers should organize and control the work process to maximize the advantages of job specialization and the division of labour.

To discover the most efficient method of performing specific tasks, Taylor studied in great detail and measured the ways different workers went about performing their tasks.

Principle 1: One of the main tools he used was a time-and-motion study, which involves the careful timing and recording of the actions taken to perform a particular task. Once Taylor understood the existing method of performing a task, he tried different methods of dividing and coordinating the various tasks necessary to produce a finished product. Usually this meant simplifying jobs and having each worker perform fewer, more routine tasks, as at the pin factory or on Ford’s car assembly line. Taylor also sought ways to improve each worker’s ability to perform a particular task-for example, by reducing the number of motions workers made to complete the task, by changing the layout of the work area or the type of tool workers used, or by experimenting with tools of different sizes.

Principle 2: Codify the new methods of performing tasks into written rules and standard operating procedures.

Once the best method of performing a particular task was determined, Taylor specified that it should be recorded so that the procedures could be taught to all workers performing the same task. These rules could be used to standardize and simplify jobs further-essentially, to make jobs even more routine. In this way, efficiency could be increased throughout an organization.

Principle 3: Carefully select workers so that they possess skills and abilities that match the needs of the task, and train them to perform the task according to the established rules and procedures.

To increase specialization, Taylor believed workers had to understand the tasks that were required and be thoroughly trained in order to perform the tasks at the required level. Workers who could not be trained to this level were to be transferred to a job where they were able to reach the minimum required level of proficiency.

• Principle 4: Establish a fair or acceptable level of performance for a task, and then develop a pay system that provides a reward for performance above the acceptable level. To encourage workers to perform at a high level of efficiency, and to provide them with an incentive to reveal the most efficient techniques for performing a task, Taylor advocated that workers should benefit from any gains in performance. They should be paid a bonus and receive some percentage of the performance gains achieved through the more efficient work process.

This decision ultimately resulted in problems. For example, some managers using scientific management obtained increases in performance, but rather than sharing performance gains with workers through bonuses as Taylor had advocated, they simply increased the amount of work that each worker was expected to do. Many workers experiencing the reorganized work system found that as their performance increased, managers required them to do more work for the same pay. Workers also learned that increases in performance often meant fewer jobs and a greater threat of layoffs, because fewer workers were needed. In addition, the specialized, simplified jobs were often monotonous and repetitive, and many workers became dissatisfied with their jobs.

Scientific management brought many workers more hardship than gain, and left them with a distrust of managers who did not seem to care about their wellbeing. These dissatisfied workers resisted attempts to use the new scientific methods unable to inspire workers to accept the new scientific management techniques for performing tasks, some organizations increased the mechanization of the work process. For example, one reason for Henry Ford’s introduction of moving conveyor belts in his factory was the realization that when a conveyor belt controls the pace of work (instead of workers setting their own pace), workers can be pushed to perform at higher levels-levels that they may have thought were beyond their reach. Charlie Chaplin captured this aspect of mass production in one of the opening scenes of his famous movie, Modern Times (1936). In the film, Chaplin caricatured a new factory employee fighting to work at the machine imposed pace but losing the battle to the machine. Henry Ford also used the principles of scientific management to identify the tasks that each worker should perform on the production line and thus to determine the most effective way to create a division of labour to suit the needs of a mechanized production system. From a performance perspective, the combination of the two management practices

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(1) achieving the right mix of worker-task specialization and

(2) linking people and tasks by the speed of the production line-makes sense.

It produces the huge savings in cost and huge increases in output that occur in large, organized work settings. For example, in 1908, managers at the Franklin Motor Company redesigned the work process using scientific management principles, and the output of cars increased from 100 cars a month to 45 cars a day; workers’ wages increased by only 90 percent, however. From other perspectives, though, scientific management practices raise many concerns.

Ethics in Action:

From 1908 to 1914, through trial and error, Henry Ford’s talented team of production managers pioneered the development of the moving conveyor belt and thus changed manufacturing practices forever. Although the technical aspects of the move to mass production were a dramatic financial success for Ford and for the millions of Americans who could now afford cars, for the workers who actually produced the cars, many human and social problems resulted.

With simplification of the work process, workers grew to hate the monotony of the moving conveyor belt. By 1914, Ford’s car plants were experiencing huge employee turnover-often reaching levels as high as 300 or 400 percent per year as workers left because they could not handle the work-induced stress. Henry Ford recognized these problems and made an announcement: From that point on, to motivate his workforce, he would reduce the length of the workday from nine hours to eight hours, and the company would double the basic wage from US$2.50 to US$5.00 per day. This was a dramatic increase, similar to an announcement today of an overnight doubling of the minimum wage. Ford became an internationally famous figure, and the word “Fordism” was coined for his new approach.

Ford’s apparent generosity was matched, however, by an intense effort to control the resources-both human and material-with which his empire was built. He employed hundreds of inspectors to check up on employees, both inside and outside his factories. In the factory, supervision was close and confining. Employees were not allowed to leave their places at the production line, and they were not permitted to talk to one another. Their job was to concentrate fully on the task at hand. Few employees could adapt to this system, and they developed ways of talking out of the sides of their mouths, like ventriloquists, and invented a form of speech that became known as the “Ford Lisp.”

Ford’s obsession with control brought him into greater and greater conflict with managers, who were often fired when they disagreed with him. As a result, many talented people left Ford to join his growing rivals.

Outside the workplace, Ford went so far as to establish what he called the “Sociological Department” to check up on how his employees lived and the ways in which they spent their time. Inspectors from this department visited the homes of employees and investigated their habits and problems. Employees who exhibited behaviours contrary to Ford’s standards (for instance, if they drank too much or were always in debt) were likely to be fired. Clearly, Ford’s effort to control his employees led him and his managers to behave in ways that today would be considered unacceptable and unethical, and in the long run would impair an organization’s ability to prosper.

Two prominent followers of Taylor were Frank Gilbreth (1868-1924) and Lillian Gilbreth (1878-1972), who refined Taylor’s analysis of work movements and made many contributions to time-and-motion study.

The Gilbreths often filmed a worker performing a particular task and then separated the task actions, frame by frame, into their component movements. Their goal was to maximize the efficiency with which each individual task was performed so that gains across tasks would add up to enormous savings of time and effort. Their attempts to develop improved management principles were captured-at times quite humorously-in the movie Cheaper by the Dozen, which depicts how the Gilbreths (with their 12 children) tried to live their own lives according to these efficiency principles and apply them to daily actions such as shaving, cooking, and even raising a family. Eventually, the Gilbreths became increasingly interested in the study of fatigue. They studied how the physical characteristics of the workplace contribute to job stress that often leads to fatigue and thus poor performance. They isolated factors- such as lighting, heating, the colour of walls, and the design of tools and machines-that result in worker fatigue. Their pioneering studies paved the way for new advances in management theory.

In workshops and factories, the work of the Gilbreths, Taylor, and many others had a major effect on the practice of management. In comparison with the old crafts system, jobs in the new system were more repetitive, boring, and monotonous as a result of the application of scientific management principles, and workers became increasingly dissatisfied. Frequently, the management of work settings became a game between workers and managers: Managers tried to initiate work practices to increase performance, and workers tried to hide the true potential efficiency of the work setting in order to protect their own well-being.

Administrative Management Theory:

Side by side with scientific managers studying the person-task mix to increase efficiency administrative management. Organizational structure is the system of task and authority relationships. It leads that how employees use resources to achieve the organization’s goals. Two to high efficiency and of the most influential views regarding the creation of efficient systems of organization effectiveness. administration were developed in Europe. Max Weber, a German professor of sociology, developed one theory. Henri Fayol, the French manager also developed a model of management in the form of certain principles, which are given as under:

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Fayol’s Principles of Management

Working at the same time as Weber but independently of him, Henri Fayol (1841-1925), the CEO of Comambault Mining, identified 14 principles that he believed to be essential to increasing the efficiency of the management process. Some of the principles that Fayol outlined have faded from contemporary management practices, but most have endured.

Division of Labour Job specialization and the division of labour should increase efficiency, especially if managers take steps to lessen workers’ boredom.

Authority and Responsibility Managers have the right to give orders and the power to exhort subordinates for obedience.

Unity of Command An employee should receive orders from only one superior. Line of Authority The length of the chain of command that extends from the top to the bottom of an organization should be limited.

Centralization Authority should not be concentrated at the top of the chain of command. Unity of Direction The organization should have a single plan of action to guide managers and workers.

Equity All organizational members are entitled to be treated with justice and respect. Order The arrangement of organizational positions should maximize organizational efficiency and provide employees with satisfying career opportunities.

Initiative Managers should allow employees to be innovative and creative. Discipline Managers need to create a workforce that strives to achieve organizational goals. Remuneration of Personnel The system that managers use to reward employees should be equitable for both employees and the organization.

Stability of Tenure of Personnel Long-term employees develop skills that can improve organizational efficiency.

Subordination of Individual Interests to the Common Interest Employees should understand how their performance affects the performance of the whole organization. Esprit de Corps Managers should encourage the development of shared feelings of comradeship, enthusiasm, or devotion to a common cause.

The principles that Fayol and Weber set forth still provide a clear and appropriate set of guidelines that managers can use to create a work setting that makes efficient and effective use of organizational resources. These principles remain the bedrock of modern management theory; recent researchers have refined or developed them to suit modern conditions. For example, Weber’s and Fayol’s concerns for equity and for establishing appropriate links between performance and reward are central themes in contemporary theories of motivation and leadership.

Behavioural Management Theory:

The study of how managers should behave in order to motivate employees and encourage them to perform at high levels and be committed to the achievement of organization. The behavioural management theorists writing in the first half of the twentieth century all espoused a theme that focused on how managers should personally behave in order to motivate employees and encourage them to perform at high levels and be committed to the achievement of organizational goals. The “Management Insight” indicates how employees can become demoralized when managers do not treat their employees properly.

The Hawthorne Studies and Human Relations might be increased through improving various characteristics of the work setting, such as job specialization or the kinds of tools workers used. One series of studies was conducted from 1924 to 1932 at the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company. This research, now known as the Hawthorne studies, began as an attempt to investigate how characteristics of the work setting-specifically the level of lighting or illumination-affect worker fatigue and performance. The researchers conducted an experiment in which they systematically measured worker productivity at various levels of illumination.

The experiment produced some unexpected results. The researchers found that regardless of whether they raised or lowered the level of illumination, productivity increased. In fact, productivity began to fall only when the level of illumination dropped to the level of moonlight, a level at which presumably workers could no longer see well enough to do their work efficiently.

The researchers found these results puzzling and invited a noted Harvard psychologist, Elton Mayo, to help them. Subsequently, it was found that many other factors also influence worker behaviour, and it was not clear what was actually influencing the Hawthorne workers’ behaviour. However, this particular effective group, had deliberately adopted a norm of output restriction to protect their jobs. Workers who violated this informal production norm were subjected to sanctions by other group members. Those who violated group performance norms and performed above the norm were called “ratebusters”; those who performed below the norm were called “chiselers.”

One of the main implications of the Hawthorne studies was that the behaviour of managers and workers in the work setting is as important in explaining the level of performance as the technical aspects of the task. Managers must understand the informal organization The system of behavioural rules and norms that workings of the informal organization, the system of behavioural rules and norms that emerge in a group, when they try to manage or change behaviour in organizations. Many studies have found that, as time passes, groups often develop emerge in a group. elaborate procedures and norms that bond members together, allowing unified action either to cooperate with management in order to raise performance or to restrict output and thwart the attainment of organizational goals. The Hawthorne studies demonstrated the importance of understanding how the feelings, thoughts, and behaviour of work-group members and managers affect performance. It was becoming increasingly clear to researchers that understanding behaviour in organizations is a complex process that is critical to increasing performance. Indeed, organizational behaviour The study of the factors that have an the increasing interest in the area of management known as organizational behaviour, the study of the factors that have an impact on how individuals and groups respond to and act in organizations, dates from these early studies.

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