Work design


Work is the basic source of our livelihood. It also nourishes the human personality. We regard work differently at different points of time. Our attitude towards work changes from time to time, and is different from culture to culture. Perhaps these days in advanced societies, work has lost the central position it used to occupy in human life, thanks to other cultural, social, aesthetic and leisure pursuits.

In India, however, work still is in the centre-stage, and, there is talk of making the right to work a fundamental constitutional right. Work systems set boundaries to what must be managed. Work systems result from people-machines interface or technical competence and equipment interface. This interface is in an organizational context to achieve certain objectives.

Work Design is the study and design of a work system in an organizational context. Work to begin with, was considered in technological terms. Social scientists later modified the concept in favor of a behavioral angle. Technologically, work is viewed as tools, techniques and methods used for production of finished goods.

The economic concept of work is associated with wages and employment. Work design seeks to increase productivity by seeking better and less expensive ways to perform the functions/tasks. Benefits of improved productivity are available to employees, managers, shareholders, consumers and people at large.

We assume in a production unit work exists and so do the work problems originating at individual work stations. The man-material-machine combination is the focus of any work problem. This is a part of the entire organization/work system.

Work system is sub-system of a larger super system. Work systems mostly are open, and there are actions-reactions in them, depending upon the values associated with the work systems. Moreover, there is the work method which is important for Work Design. Work design is a systematic investigation of desired and present work systems to get the ideal work systems and methods.

Assumptions of Work design

1. Work system tries to improve productivity and effectiveness.

2. Work systems are in the three states namely design, betterment, and improvement.

3. Work design considers all aspects of the work system

4. Work design integrates abilities and talents.

Work design goes beyond a set of techniques, since work systems need continuous monitoring. A system is a collection of parts that form a whole. The objectives could be increased productivity and higher effectiveness. Work study (WS) is one of the techniques of enhancing productivity. Work study should be applied properly with due support from employees and management to enhance productivity. Work study guides us about how the jobs should be done and how long they should take.

Work Study is defined as a technique that embraces method study and work measurement which are employed to ensure the best possible use of human and material resources in carrying out the specified.

The main objective of WS is to improve productivity of men, machines and materials.

Method Study is the systematic recording and critical examination of existing and proposed ways of doing work as to develop or apply easier & more effective methods and to reduce costs. It investigates how jobs are done and how the method of doing them can be improved.

Work Measurement is the application of techniques designed to establish the time or a qualified worker to carry out a specified job at a defined level of performance. It tries to estimate how long jobs should take once the method is decided.

Both the above concepts—Method Study and Work Measurement—are loosely linked. The former intends to reduce the work-content, and the latter establishes time standards on the basis of work-content as determined by the former. Generally, a method study precedes work measurement. In some instances, time standards do indicate occurrence of ineffective time in work sampling for corrective action in anticipation of method study. Time study also enables comparison of alternative methods.

Purpose of Work Study:

The objective of work study is to assist management to obtain the optimum use of the human and material resources available to an organization for the accomplishment of the work upon which it is engaged.