work organization

work organization

the distribution and coordination of work tasks, skills and authority in an ORGANIZATION. Work organization is the way that tasks are distributed amongst the individuals in an organization and the ways in which these are then coordinated to achieve the final product or service. For instance, in a school the work organization comprises those workers providing tuition, secretarial staff giving administrative support and ancillary workers, such as the caretaker, who ensure that the facilities are ready for teaching to take place. These activities are coordinated in part by staff meetings, in part by the headteachers and their assistants. An alternative form of work organization would be where teachers also undertake some secretarial and ancillary tasks.

Some modes of work organization may be more efficient in terms of labour utilization than others. The quality of work organization may thus have an important impact on the performance of the organization. Work organization may be determined by a number of factors:

  1. the nature of the technology used (in turn influenced by the nature of the product or service). Assembly-line technology, for instance, tends to discourage group working and to encourage a pattern of work organization where each worker does a single repetitive task;
  2. managerial choice. Technology may potentially be used in a number of ways (see SOCIOTECHNICAL SYSTEM) according to managerial objectives. Managerial competence is also important. Poor knowledge of production management may lead to inefficient work organization;
  3. workforce aspirations. Groups of workers are often able to modify informally the way that work is done and the way that tasks are distributed among them.

In addition TRADE UNIONS or SHOP STEWARDS may regulate the way work is organized, either unilaterally (see DEMARCATION LINE, RESTRICTIVE LABOUR PRACTICE), or jointly with management (see COLLECTIVE BARGAINING).

Many commentators believe that much of the UK's economic difficulties in recent decades are due to inefficient patterns of work organization. These are variously attributed to a failure to invest sufficiently in new technology, ‘over-mighty’ unions, poor management etc. There is a growing recognition that the managerial approach to work organization should be more rigorous and strategic than in the past (see JAPANIZATION). Many also believe that greater task scope should be given to MANUAL WORKERS, supported by improved TRAINING. Operators of sophisticated equipment should be given the opportunity to program or maintain it. As well as improving JOB SATISFACTION this would lead to better standards of work. See JOB DESIGN AND REDESIGN, SOCIOLOGY OF WORK.

References in periodicals archive ?
Designing and developing a sustainable work organization means therefore maximizing the odds for complexity to emerge.
Findings from an ethnographic study suggests that new, lean forms of work organization remove opportunities to use or learn many of the tacit or practice skills workers previously used to keep themselves and their clients safer in the work place.
In a major setback for proponents of "human-centered" work organization, Volvo's innovative Uddevalla assembly plant, where teams of skilled workers assembled whole cars in a radical modern break with traditional assembly-line production, closed down in 1993 after only five years of operation.
In this study, researchers and employees independently ranked the companies' improvement in interfunctional coordination, decision-making, work organization and concern for people on a scale of 1 to 5.
Contract notice: An analysis of the expected changes in the sphere of work organization, Employment, Emerging "new forms of labor" as a result of the intensive penetration of modern information and communication
This study addresses the issue of how new forms of work organization (NFWO) are affecting job skill requirements.
As the employee assistance field has evolved over the years and as employee and member assistance programs have become better integrated into their respective work organizations, the challenge of finding the right interface between the EAP, the health and wellness of the workforce, and the work organization has been at times controversial, while at other times it has contributed to profound programmatic innovations.
LEFs are likely to use work organization, recruitment, and training practices that suggest future employment trends.
Apart from the above audit services for individual municipalities this task embraces also the auditing of the Joint Control Work organization BUCH from the financial year 2017.
Majorities of both aspire to the top position within a work organization and cite similar reasons--hard work, managerial skill, participation in high-visibility projects, and demonstrated expertise--for their success.
Other conclusions emerging from the study were as follows: (1) technological change will increase the demand for highly skilled workers; (2) emerging technologies will both respond to changes in work organization and further raise requirements for flexibility in work organization; and (3) technology policy strategies aimed at accelerating technological progress should lead to positive results and further economic and employment growth.
As is evident in EAPA's recent revision to the definition of an EAP as "the work organization's resource that utilizes specific functions and skills (EAP Core Technology) to enhance employee and workplace effectiveness through prevention, identification and resolution of personal and productivity issues," this collection of strategies and tools serves as a unique body of knowledge for the EA profession.