Work Specialization

We explain what job specialization is, its characteristics and examples. In addition, its history and what are its advantages.

work specialization
The specialization of work places each task in the hands of the most appropriate professionals.

What is job specialization?

Job specialization or labor specialization consists of assign different people or work groups each of the activities involved in a production process determined, in such a way that each person performs a different job, and thus take advantage of the available resources and talents.

When a company applies work specialization methods, what it does is put each task in the hands of the most appropriate professionals to carry it out, that is, those who have been trained or have the experience and, therefore, have better profit margins. performance. Thus, labor specialization is the opposite model of labor generalization, in which each employee performs a series of tasks, often coinciding, and the workload is distributed equally.

On the other hand, labor specialization proposes the professional and job training of each individual so that they occupy a specific and unique role in the productive chain, in order to save efforts and obtain better results. This, moreover, often involves the need to train staff, that is, to teach them how to best perform the specialized functions they will be facing.

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History of labor specialization

administrative management adam smith
Adam Smith explained that the division of labor gave rise to agrarian societies.

The notion of labor specialization is typical of the world of industrialization and mass production models. Its direct antecedent is part of the work of one of the most important thinkers of classical economics, the Scottish Adam Smith (1723-1790), who proposed the division of laborthat is, the distribution of a productive activity among different people in a group according to their talents, abilities and knowledge.

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Smith, however, affirms that this process is inherent to the industries since its appearance in the Neolithic period. Thus, it gave rise to agrarian societies and allowed while some dedicated themselves to producing common food, others dedicated themselves to pursuing knowledge.

The specialization of work It is also key to the ideas of the American Frederick W. Taylor (1856-1915), whose thinking created the taylorism, that is, the rational organization of work with the purpose of maximizing utility levels. Taylorism was a true revolution in industrial organization, only comparable to what it brought then fordism: the systematization of work in different consecutive stages.

Characteristics of job specialization

The labor specialization has the following characteristics:

  • It consists of assigning each worker the same portion of the productive circuitin such a way that you learn to execute it to the best of your ability and focus on it.
  • Workers engaged in these specific roles are known as “specialists” and are often paid moresince their work cannot be carried out with the same margin of efficiency by others.
  • Proposes a simplification of the production processsince it is approached in clearly delimited parts which are dealt with by each specialist.
  • Requires specialized trainingeither through formal education or the accumulation of experience.

Advantages of labor specialization

job specialization advantages
The specialization of work reduces the rate of errors and losses.

Among the main advantages of labor specialization are:

  • Work is optimizedsince efforts are not duplicated and time is saved by being able to attend to different stages of the production process at the same time.
  • Workers learn to do a specific task very well, instead of knowing how to do many in a mediocre way. In addition, by reaching an important level of specialization, added value is added to their work.
  • Maximizes productive efficiencysaves costs and saves time, since each part does its work independently, although connected to the rest.
  • Simplifies the production processwhich reduces the rate of errors and losses.
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Examples of job specialization

As an example, we can think of the specialization of work in:

  • The services of outsourcing or outsourcing. These are entire companies dedicated to a very specific and specialized aspect of the production chain or organizational management. These provide services to other larger companies to resolve very specific issues, through a team of workers specialized in the matter.
  • The specialization of hospital workers. In a clinical medical center there are different types of professionals, adapted to the specific areas of the organization. For example, radiology, psychiatry, and emergency room nurses share basic training but specialize in different areas of the hospital.

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References

  • “Division of labor” on Wikipedia.
  • “What is job specialization?” in VISA (Mexico).
  • What is job specialization? in Euroinnova.
  • “Division of labour” in The Encyclopaedia Britannica.