Crowdresearch:Open Gov - Prototypes Milestone 8
Division of labour
Adam Smith foresaw the essence of industrialism by determining that division of labour represents a qualitative increase in productivity. He mentioned it as a dynamic engine of economic progress. Smith saw the importance of matching skills with equipment – usually in the context of an organization. For example, pin makers were organized with one making the head, another the body, each using different equipment. Similarly he emphasised a large number of skills, used in cooperation and with suitable equipment, were required to build a ship.
Job specialization is advantageous in developing employee expertise in a field and boosting organizational production. However, disadvantages of job specialization included limited employee skill, a dependence on entire department fluency, and employee discontent with repetitious tasks.
It is widely accepted that the division of labour is to a great extent inevitable, simply because no one can do all tasks at once. Labour hierarchy is a very common feature of the modern workplace structure, but of course the way these hierarchies are structured can be influenced by a variety of different factors.
History of Workers Guild
In the earliest stages of human civilization, work was confined to simple tasks involving the most basic of human needs: food, child care, and shelter. A division of labour likely resulted when some individuals showed proficiency in particular tasks, such as hunting animals or gathering plants for food. As a means of increasing the food supply, prehistoric peoples could organize the work of foraging and hunting and, later, agriculture. There could be no widespread geographic division of labour, however, because populations were sparse and isolated. The uncertain availability of food allowed little surplus for exchange, and there were few contacts with groups in different places that might have specialized in obtaining different foods.