Division of Labour

The functional partitioning and specialization of responsibilities has been an area of marked interest for numerous social experts, economists, philosophers and capitalists over the years. This system of departmentalizing and delegating tasks according to expertise, skills and available resources has become increasingly common and is almost the norm in hectic industries like manufacturing and services.

Society recognizes the positive implications of cooperating within a community. More efficient outcomes are created when strict independence gives way to collaboration. The theory of two heads being better than one applies well to performing better at tasks. Motions to compromise such individuality were very unconventional during the early days and unacceptable to some. However, good results were observed when a complex project was done by several groups of worker with each unit bringing its own expertise.
The economist Adam Smith, who is known to be one of its early proponents, described in his book, The Wealth of Nations, how this concept is responsible for the “universal opulence” of many industries, including enriched productivity, increased trade, shorter training periods and cheaper costs. It also helps to encourage increased innovation.

On the other hand, some experts would argue that like any other principle, it has its own set of drawbacks. An employee who is doing the monotonous task every day will, sooner or later, get tired of the job. Efficiency declines as a result of decreased interests, challenge and drive, resulting in a lack of self-fulfillment. Dividing jobs too much among employees create unproductive hours and redundant roles. It can also contribute to a lessened accountability, since a finished product or a project is of several worker’s input and efforts, and it can be tough to assign responsibility to specific individuals. Furthermore, there can also be issues regarding work-flow. If production in a certain phase performs at a lower pace, other phases connected to it slow down too.

For well-balanced performance, it is then recommended that the division of labour is implemented cautiously by companies with good judgment. It good to distribute subtasks to avoid overworked and underpaid workers, but only up to a point people need to be given opportunities to bring their learning and self-enhancement to the next level, and they need more substantial roles to accomplish that.

No one can finish an entire project on their own. They will always require support either from another individual or machine. Whether working alone or in a group, employees are expected to perform at their best and produce the greatest output possible.


S. Queyquep | DBPC Blog