Table of Contents
The aspect of division of labor simply refers to the separation of tasks in any available system with the intent of enhancing the specialization of the participants in a particular area. Individuals, organizations, and nations function appropriately through the enhancement of a specific capability. The division of labor in the society is what leads to the success of the functionality of the community, as its presence in the community dates far back as the early periods of hunters and gatherers whereby the division of labor existed in regards to the age of an individual, and the gender. In the contemporary society, the division of labor has incorporated other classification groups apart from age and gender that groups individuals according to their best skills. The purpose of the paper is to discuss the major issues concerned with the issue of division of labor, with major emphasis being on distinctions of labor divisions in the traditional and contemporary society, the aspect of cheap labor, and the importance of the division of labor in the society and its potential problem.
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Distinctions of labor divisions in the traditional and contemporary society
The aspect of division of labor remains to exist as the earliest form of the innovative principle of the capitalist mode of production. Capitalism led to a new form of labor division whereby it systematically divided the work of each specialty into limited operations. The introduction of capitalism in the society led to the increase in the productivity levels of the community since the members of the society understood various ways in which they can improve the efficiency of the labor divisions employed (Braverman, 1998). Herskovits gives a clear distinction in the differences between the modern labor division practiced in the contemporary society and that of the traditional society, as he notes that the rules established by different cultures are the main reason behind the differences in approaches taken by the systems. However, it is important to note that each individual who devotes himself or herself to a specific task, need to be also competent in the other existing divisions (Pollard, 1965). For instance, in the situation whereby the society divides labor in regards to sexes, the men and the women not only have to understand the perpetual roles conducted by a man or a woman but also needed to have a better realization of how to effectively conduct the tasks at hand. Further, in societies that possess some greater aspects of economic complexity; it can be evident that many men spend the most time in handling occupations that involve doing some iron-working and wood carvings (Pollard, 1965). Therefore, through contemplating on the direction taken by the distinctions between the traditional and the contemporary understanding of division of labor, it is quite clear that the traditional society leaned more on the gender roles to determine the division of labor. However, in the contemporary society, the division of labor tends to lean most on the issue of technical capability.
The aspect of cheap labor
Many issues contribute to the establishment and success of division of labor in the community, with the issue of cheap labor is the major contributor. The realization and growth of cheap labor run in the sense that jobs that offer bad wages to the employees are still better than having no job at all (Krugman, 1997). Thus, the ideology sees many people engage or accept job offers that are seemingly pathetic in regards to the employment conditions of the occupation and the amount of pay received in return.
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The element of globalization is the main contributor to the rise of cheap labor since many organizations target areas stricken with poverty, whereby people will be willing to accept any kind of job offer regardless of the pay offered by the organization. The overwhelming will by people from poor economic blocs to accept job opportunities regardless of the pay offered is a major cause of the division of labor in the society, as it leads to the rise and the existence of a group of people that are available for any kind of occupation (Krugman, 1997). Sometimes, the group takes the name informal workers, as they do not have a particular skill that can endear them to a specific occupation, particularly those with better payment systems. Thus, the availability of cheap labor tends to lead to a general division of labor into two distinct classes that include an informal and formal set of workers.
Importance of division of labor in the society and its potential problem
Division of labor does possess some major benefits in the society, which mainly revolve around the aspect of productivity. Economic growth of societies depends heavily in the success of division of labor, as it helps in the improvement of various areas within the society that are necessary for the effectiveness of the society in regards to financial strengths (Smith, 2017). According to Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, the specialization of the labor force in the society has the core potential of increasing the economic capacity of a particular nation. He further notes that the success of a society depends on the breakdown of one major task into various small components that would help individuals to become focused on the matter of concern and improve the productivity levels of the organization (Smith, 2017). Through breaking down a particular task into various small segments, an organization can allow the employees to specialize on a particular segment, where they can channel all their energy and skills to ensure that they handle the responsibilities of the segment with utmost efficiency. Therefore, through ensuring that all segments of a particular task receive the best attention necessary, the aspect of division of labor can be very helpful in guaranteeing the success of an organization and the improvement of the revenues realized by the company.
Another importance of the division of labor is that it maximizes the prosperity of an employee, which is a principal object of management. Achieving maximum prosperity acts as the core principle guiding managers in their handling of the organization, and it involves the development of each branch of the business to guarantee their achievement of excellence (Taylor, 1911). Division of labor in the organization can help in the achievement of prosperity amongst the employees whereby it can help in the development of each employee as his or her state of maximum efficiency (Taylor, 1911). Thus through ensuring that each member of the workforce is at his or her maximum efficiency, the organization can ensure that its products are of the highest grade and can achieve the best for the organization.
Although the aspect of division of labor possesses some positive influence in the operations of the organization as it increases the revenues realized by a company, it also possesses some potential problems to the organization. The major problem that the aspect of division of labor can cause to the organization is that it might lead to a workforce dissatisfied by its position in the organization. Smith (2017) notes that forcing the employees into conducting a particular task repeatedly would make the workforce to be ignorant about their responsibilities, and develop a sense of resistance to the particular tasks assigned to them. Therefore, when the workforce develops a negative attitude towards their responsibilities, there is a high chance that they will be dissatisfied by the organization and its operations, which can lead to the realization of detrimental results on the organization’s performance.
The other problem that the aspect of division of labor can cause to the organization is the tracing of the root value of the division of labor. Smith (2017) highlighted two sets of value, use value, and exchange value. The concept of exchange value is the one that is of major interest, as I help in the understanding of the reasons behind an element with very little practical use, commands a very large price than another indispensable element that plays a major role to life. Considering that the number of hours of labor determines the worth of a good, it is clear that the fewer hours that the division of labor results on a particular product, can result in a serious devaluation of the products produced by the organization.
The introduction of capitalism in the society led to the increase in the productivity levels of the community since the members of the society understood various ways in which they can improve the efficiency of the labor divisions employed. Economic growth of societies depends heavily in the success of division of labor, as it helps in the improvement of various areas within the society that are necessary for the effectiveness of the society in regards to financial strengths. Another importance of the division of labor is that it maximizes the prosperity of an employee, which is a principal object of management. On the other hand, the major problem that the aspect of division of labor can cause to the organization is that it might lead to a workforce dissatisfied by its position in the organization. Finally, its other problem lies in the aspect of division of labor can cause to the organization is the tracing of the root value of the division of labor.
- Smith, A., 2017. The wealth of nations: An inquiry into the nature and causes. Global Vision Publishing House.
- Braverman, H., 1998. Labor and monopoly capital: The degradation of work in the twentieth century. NYU Press.
- Taylor, F.W., 1911. The principles of scientific management. Harper & brothers.
- Pollard, S., 1965. The Genesis of Modern Management: A Study of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britian. Penguin Books.
- Krugman, P., 1997. In praise of cheap labor. Slate, March, 21, p.1997.